Charters Towers Regional Council enhances consistency, quality and confidence while
future-proofing their council meeting process
Charters Towers Regional Council
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Having been at Charters Towers Regional Council for seven years and in local government for almost two decades, Amy Russell is no stranger to the manual processes involved in creating, managing, and executing each council meeting. However, the lack of automation and duplicate effort was becoming time-consuming for staff, and the Executive Services Manager knew there had to be a ‘better’ way to manage such an important process.
“My life used to revolve around the council meeting,” Amy said. “The process for each meeting was very manual, and there was always so much room for error. I had heard about meeting management software within larger councils and how easy it made the process, so it was time to make a change.”
While previous team members had started looking at meeting management providers, Amy said she wanted to work with a partner that made the system work for Charters Towers.
“We had looked at previous providers, but many were based nationally and had no idea where we were located, no understanding of Queensland legislation or how our meetings were run. So when Resolve was brought to me, I immediately contacted our neighbouring councils, who were clients, and received extremely positive feedback.”
As the key contact, Amy felt the team at Redman Solutions listened to the issues she and the team were experiencing and understood where they wanted to get to in the long term.
”I never felt like I was being ‘pitched’ a product, and that was important to me,” she explained. “It was clear that I was liaising with people who had local government experience - they just knew the nature of the sector and how they could make the technology work for us.”
“It was clear that I was liaising with people who
had local government experience - they (Redman)
just knew the nature of the sector and how they
could make the technology work for us.”
How consistent processes resulted in improved Quality and Team Confidence.
Once Resolve was implemented, the benefits were almost immediately apparent to Amy.
The automation improved workflows and removed many of the manual processes involved in managing the council meeting. For example, the simplicity of being able to remove a report from the agenda and then reissue it quickly saved time going back and forth with PDFs and attachments; there was no more need to create three different agendas or upload them to the council’s website manually and eliminating the reliance on word and emails for reports resulted in instant efficiencies.
Along with the benefits experienced throughout the meeting process, Amy was impressed to discover how the consistency and quality of council reports were also improved.
“Resolve has provided us with so much automation, which is fantastic, but I have also noticed a huge difference in the consistency and quality of our reports,” she said. “Using Resolve’s templates, the team has more confidence in writing reports, which has enhanced the quality and reduced the time taken to complete them. Deadlines are now consistently being met, and I’ve seen a shift in the team as they’re not having to rewrite or start from scratch each month. The system also removes the need to manage formatting manually, which means there’s more focus on the content – it’s been so beneficial.
“Using Resolve’s templates, the team has more
confidence in writing reports, which has enhanced
the quality and reduced the time taken to complete them.”
Successful Change Management results in Councillors making the shift to digital after 20 years.
While the broader organisation inevitably experiences the benefits of new technology, sometimes the initial change can be tricky – because if you’ve always done something one way and it works, why change it?
For Amy, it was essential to bring all stakeholders along the Resolve journey and make them feel part of the change. This involved open communication and a staged approach to ensure all stakeholders were on board with the shift to digital council meetings.
“I’m very big on open communication and wanted to ensure everyone was aware of the pros and cons of what we were about to take on. My colleagues and I presented an internal comms plan to our CEO, followed by the ELT and MLT. It was important for me to have the council completely on board,” Amy said.
Once the team started to use the features within Resolve, Amy discovered that many councillors had also taken advantage of the technology and had started using the Councillor Portal for each meeting rather than paper-based agendas.
Amy expressed her delight at witnessing councillors use their devices during the council meeting and is proud of their confidence in using Resolve.
“Many of our councillors have always liked using paper copies; it’s how they’ve always done it. I wanted to make Resolve work for them and didn’t want to push for the rollout immediately. I encouraged them in stages to use their device to make comments, use the search function and get to know the system. Now they don’t need paper copies of PDF agendas emailed; they are more than happy to access the Councillor Portal on their tablets and love the fact they can use it on the go or the road.”
Resolve has also managed to convert those with more traditional working methods, which have been held for decades.
“We have one elected member who has served the region for over 23 years, and for the first time, I have not had to print out a paper agenda for him. Instead, he now accesses the Councillor Portal from his iPad and is experiencing the benefits of each meeting. This reinforces how user-friendly Resolve is and gives me the confidence that we have found the right system for our organisation.
“We have one elected member who has served the
region for over 23 years, and for the first time,
I have not had to print out a paper agenda for him.”
Future-proofing the Council Meeting Process
Since the implementation of Resolve, Charters Towers Regional Council is becoming familiar with streamlined council meetings that have become more effective and increased sustainability. Amy explains how the change has enhanced how all teams work and will benefit the council now and in the future.
“I’ve been in local government for 17 years, and for the first time, I am happy creating agendas,” she said. “Our council meeting process is much more efficient, and I know the system will support us as we evolve. Of course, we aren’t always going to have the same people in the same position, but I believe Resolve is future-proofing our council meeting.”
When it comes to lessons learned, Amy encourages anyone looking to make the shift to Resolve to just do it and ensure you have a clear communication and change management plan.
“If you’re looking to make the change, do it; you won’t regret it. My message to other councils is to make sure you work with your councillors to bring them on the journey and use the support of Redman Solutions as much as possible – their support and guidance are second to none, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.”
“I’ve been in local government for 17 years,
and for the first time, I am happy creating agendas.
Our council meeting process is much more efficient,
and I know the system will support us as we evolve."