Improvements since amalgamation

Article image - Improvements since amalgamation Things are looking good for Inner West Council staff according to a review of operations since the amalgamation 18 months ago.

Inner West Council, New South Wales, has completed an 18 month review of its operational service areas, including resource recovery, civil works, parks and streetscapes teams.

Following the amalgamation Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield Councils in 2016, the services provided by Council were very different, and staff had a wide array of working conditions that made running aligned services challenging.

The objective of the review was to develop high-quality, harmonised services, representing value for ratepayers and the community, and to align the salaries and working conditions of the staff in these areas.

With the assistance of David McKinley from Abraxa Consulting, highlights of the review are:

  • an expanded verge mowing service into the former Ashfield local government area which was funded through more efficient mowing operations in other areas,
  • a new evening waste collection service, which will result in fleet savings of $1.5 million by double-shifting trucks,
  • defined service standards for the maintenance of all of Council’s parks and sportsfields and
  • increased efficiencies through improved forward-planning of works and new plant and equipment in road and footpath maintenance.
  •  Importantly, Inner West took a very collaborative approach with its staff and the United Services Union (USU) over the course of the review.

The teams were briefed at each stage of the review and formed working parties to negotiate with Council management on their working conditions.

Many staff will now enjoy improved working conditions such as increased salaries or shorter working weeks.

Mention was also made of the positive consultation process by the USU, at the Joint Staff Consultative Committee.

The approach demonstrates a culture of valuing employees and open and transparent processes.

Culturally, this will have a significant impact as employees will move from several industrial instruments into one enhancing the ‘One Council’ philosophy.

Overall, the review resulted in ongoing savings to Council of $2.5 million per annum and $1.5 million in capital expenditure.