Council slammed in review

A REVIEW of Coffs Harbour City Council practices identified the council's approach to strategic planning as an area which required further work.

The final report of the Promoting Better Practice Review was tabled at the August 11 meeting of the city council.

The review was conducted by the Division of Local Government and carried out in December, 2010.

The executive summary of the review's findings says while the council has prepared the required plans and strategies, there appears to have been a lack of councillor and staff engagement in the process.

“Without an understanding of the issues affecting the community and the level of resources required to achieve the aims and aspirations of the community, the council is at risk of making decisions which are inconsistent with its adopted plans and strategies,” the review concludes.

“The other area of concern is that documents such as the Workforce Management Strategy, Asset Management Plan and Long-term Financial Plan contain insufficient detail or do not yet meet legislative requirements.

“Successful implementation of the components of the framework will require effective leadership and commitment from the mayor, general manager and all the councillors.

“It will also require a greater level of engagement with the senior management team.”

Coffs Harbour City Council general manager Steve McGrath, who had only just taken up the position when the review was conducted, said the report would be made available on the council's website and the council's progress on the strategic and policy recommendations would be presented to the councillors through future reports, while operational matters would be addressed as normal management responsibilities.

Areas for improvement identified in the report included 15 governance matters, including implementing a complaints data system, training in complaints handling procedures and developing a fraud control policy.

Also in the review, nine workforce relations areas have been marked due for improvement, included reviewing the performance management system and developing a staff induction program.

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