Council’s year in review
Bass Coast Shire Council has reflected on its past 12 months with the adoption of the 2014/15 Annual Report at the October Ordinary Meeting.
The Report includes details on Council’s performance regarding the 22 major initiatives identified in the 2014/15 budget, with 19 completed by 30 June 2015.
Out of the three remaining initiatives, the Communications and Engagement Strategy and Planning Scheme Amendment process for the Land Subject to Inundation Overlay have since been completed. The Natural Environment Sustainability Strategy is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The Report also highlighted Council’s financial performance, including direct savings of $2.78 million compared to the 2014-15 Budget, and a $6.79 million surplus against what was forecast to be a budgeted deficit of $1.55 million.
Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Kimberley Brown, said Council was also pleased with the operational savings made over the past year in the form of reduced employee costs through an organisational realignment, as well as ongoing efficiencies made through service reviews, with more reviews to be undertaken in 2015-16.
“We said all along we would deliver on our promises, and we believe the Annual Report reflects an excellent level of performance by the organisation,” Cr Brown said.
“Our end of year results continue to reflect the challenges Council identified when it released the Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) earlier in the year; however we’ve seen positive outcomes as well as identified areas for improvement,” Cr Brown said.
“Overall, we were very pleased to see significant improvements to Council’s financial position and an ongoing commitment to finding productivity efficiencies, which are starting to pay off.
The completion of the Annual Report also gave Council the opportunity to review CEO Paul Buckley’s performance since starting in February 2014.
“Council committed itself to a process of change starting with the recruitment of the new CEO,” Cr Brown said.
“At the commencement of his role, the direction given by the Councillors to Mr Buckley was to focus on providing leadership to the organisation in relation to the delivery of services and programs that are linked to the strategic direction set in the Council Plan.”
Cr Brown said Mr Buckley, who is contracted until February 2019, from his first day had endeavoured to build an organisational culture based on three key principles, including:
- Performance Management – Deliver what you promise, when you promise it.
- Financial Management – Deliver what you promise, when you promise it, within the financial parameters that have been set i.e. budget and long-term financial plan.
- Relationship Development and Management – Appreciate the stakeholders and understand their roles and responsibilities.
Mr Buckley said he was extremely proud of all staff.
“They come to work every day to make a difference, deliver on promises, provide efficiencies and services, and develop relationships in the community,” Mr Buckley said.
The Mayor echoed highlights included in the Annual Report, such as:
- Average planning processing times have increased from 35% within 60 days to 63% within 60 days
- An organisational realignment was implemented resulting in improved organisation culture, a stronger focus on accountability and improved financial sustainability
- Operational cost increases have been contained, enabling Council to remain low rating and low spending
- 10 year financial plan is in place
- Review of rating strategy has been completed
Cr Brown said Council was extremely satisfied with the performance of the organisation and senior leaders under the leadership of Mr Buckley.
“The vibe across the organisation is very positive and Mr Buckley has established strong working relationships with key partners including State Government, local tourism and business organisations, as well as attending various community groups’ meetings.
“Overall, Council is extremely satisfied with the progress that has been made and we are confident our CEO has built a sound foundation on which to grow the organisation’s capacity to deliver the key objectives of the Council Plan.
“Of course, there are always opportunities for improvement and Council has provided clear direction, particularly in the areas of delivering capital projects and the realisation of efficiency savings.”
Mr Buckley said he, along with all staff, are looking forward to the challenge of making a difference in the Bass Coast community every single day.
The 2014-15 Annual Report is now available to view online at www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/annualreport and in person at Council Customer Service Centres in Wonthaggi, Cowes and Grantville.