Home' ALGY : ALGY Edition 25 2018 Contents THE AUSTRALIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT YEARBOOK EDITION 25 • 19
leading edge local government
LEADING EDGE LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Inreturn, local councils must deliver the services
and amenities that today’s residents expect in
a market-driven economy. We tend to look at
councils as providing services weighted towards
major projects, such as infrastructure or roads.
But they also oversee many other services that
are equally important to livability, such as parks,
libraries, maternal and childcare centres, and
human-related services, and are a major contributor
to place making, focused on meeting the needs of
an increasingly demanding community.
Local government recognises that residents are
more than ratepayers: they are customers with high
expectations. They expect the same levels of service
from government as from commercial transactions. Local government
is therefore under intense pressure to perform and strive towards
customer-centric models of service delivery.
The ability to meet changing community expectations
requires a continual process of self-reflection and evaluation.
Issues such as rate capping, amalgamation, changes in
government funding and reduced revenue are increasingly
concerning. One key driver in driving improvement is the ability
to measure how effective and efficient a council is in service
provision, and the need to achieve balance between supplying
a service and ensuring that it is sustainable. The concept and
discussion around being ‘service-led’ is gathering momentum in
the sector, and councils are exploring what this really means.
The need to plan and review services is well understood by
councils and, in Australia, most local government organisations
are active in conducting service reviews; however, unlike what we
are seeing internationally, most of this planning and review work
has, to date, focused on individual services delivered out of single
directorates or business units. In addition, the definition of what
represents a service, and the level at which these reviews occur, differ
dramatically in many cases between different council organisations.
One of the key guiding principles of being truly service-
led is the existence of an overarching framework within the
organisation that provides the ability to strategise, plan,
accurately categorise and review services end to end across the
whole value chain of the organisation. An even greater ambition
would be that this framework is consistent across the Australian
sector to drive and compare ongoing performance.
Defining, classifying and measuring service provision allows
councils to make informed, fact-based decisions around which services
they provide, the way they are delivered, which services should be
removed, and which services warrant additional investment and focus.
In order to assist councils in becoming service-led, KPMG
has created the Municipal Reference Model (MRM). This is
a blueprint for measuring groups of services from across
directorates through three lenses: strategic, operational and
management. It defines what services are, how and why they
are delivered, and who receives them. It also brings clarity and
a common language to understanding the business of service
delivery from the customer’s view, rather than from a public
As you can see in Figure 1, the MRM is a useful framework
for making recommendations on the level of information to be
recorded against both internal and external services, setting out
expectations and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure
service delivery, developing a service plan, and conducting
The MRM allows for rationales to be set, explaining why
specific initiatives are needed (Meeting the Need); demonstrates
how they can be implemented, with key steps for achieving
set goals (Setting the Approach); outlines initiative benefits
(Benefits); and defines requirements for success (Dependencies).
The MRM should also consider any key risks and the level of
investment – including financial, manpower and technical – to
deliver a plan that covers all bases.
Although possibly new to Australia, this approach has
already been successfully implemented in North America
and Europe. A recent report by KPMG International, titled
Finding the courage to improve: Benchmarking city services,
summarised the findings of an in-depth survey benchmarking
35 cities around the world (including five Australian cities).
Twelve basic city services were reviewed, including road access
and maintenance, transit, park access, and garbage collection,
Figure 1. Municipal Reference Model (MRM) 1
2298_ALGY Ed 25 2018.indd 19
16/5/18 1:59 pm
Links Archive ALGY Edition 24 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page