Overcoming the challenge of resourcing when it comes to council plans
Updated: Jul 19
As councils face the challenge of doing more with less, the feasibility of resourcing for Community Strategic Plans (CSPs) is in focus. CSPs are highly strategic and comprehensive. As visionary documents with an extended timeframe for delivery, they are optimistic by nature.
We recently interviewed 20 NSW councils to understand their IPR frustrations and uncover emerging best practices. When it came to their challenges, 58% of respondents said resourcing was their biggest challenge when it comes to preparing and managing the suite of
IPR plans. Here's an overview of the results as well as some key tips.
To bring practicality to council goals, a clear understanding of resourcing is critical.
The integrity of Delivery Programs and Operational Plans rely on the ability of the Resourcing Strategy to articulate the council's resources to implement the projects and programs over time.
"There's always greater expectations about what we should do or could do versus what we can financially afford.” - NSW IPR Practitioner
However, these plans are often not well-integrated and obtaining accurate data to ensure council has sufficient financial capacity to execute on plans can be difficult.
Political pressure for change adds complexity to the situation, as changes in councillors and senior staff can trigger a shift in priorities and innovation. However, councils tend to be risk-averse due to their inherent stewardship role, making change slower and more complicated than desired.
To achieve more with limited resources, councils must navigate the challenge of reducing service levels or exiting certain services, which can be operationally and politically difficult.
"Everyone is trying to just get on with their day-to-day work, and then having this extra layer of work that's required is difficult - just getting the time and the resources to dedicate to that activity is hard.” - NSW IPR Practitioner
To manage the associated risks, councils need consistent data collection on their services and simplified means of analysing and interpreting them to support decisions for or against such changes.
Best Practice Tips
Improve integration and coordination of IPR Plans
Ensure clearer integration and coordination between the different layers of plans and strategies.
Cross-reference or link between plans and strategies to help avoid gaps and duplication and ensure accurate oversight.
Optimise the outcomes for mandatory service reviews
Identify services where demand is decreasing or are being duplicated by other service providers to examine resourcing options.
Identify KPI's that will help improve service delivery, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, achieve better outcomes for the community.
Ensure decisions account for the evolving needs of the community over time and set time frames to revisit resourcing decisions.
Invest in data and information management
Invest in data and information management systems to ensure the correct information is available and easily accessible.
Ensure systems reduce the overall time to gather data and report and eliminate the duplication of effort. Report once is ideal.
Ensure relevant data is available to all necessary stakeholders.
Uncover all the insights in the latest report - IPR and Technology. Download a copy of the Insights Report here