FAQs

 

1.     How current is the information in the Toolkit?

The Toolkit is designed to be updated as often as required.  Changes are constantly occurring within the Local Government sector as well as across specific functional areas i.e. waste management, asset management so the need to have a Toolkit that is responsive and dynamic is essential.  When new information becomes available, the site will be updated with prompts posted on the Latest News section to advise staff.

2.     How do I use the Toolkit website?

Enter the Toolkit site and click on “How to use the site” then scroll down the page to view your options.

3.     How can I share information with other local governments?

The Toolkit provides a framework to assist local governments in navigating their way through the reform process.  The information provided is just a starting point.  We are encouraging Local Governments to provide information i.e. tools and templates, case studies etc, that will be beneficial for other Local Governments and is one way to promote better practice and standardisation. 

If you have material that could be shared, please contact us on the link below:

toolkit@reformtoolkit.com.au

4.     Our reform model is a boundary change and not an amalgamation, so how relevant is the Reform Toolkit?

The information in the Toolkit is for both amalgamations and boundary changes.  Although the outcomes of amalgamation and boundary change models are similar, there are differences in the way in which the changes will be made.  For example, whether it is an amalgamation or a boundary change, it is highly recommended that the same processes are adopted to ensure a standard approach to reform is applied so that key risks and issues are addressed.  Both models will need to address the following:

  • Merging of workplace cultures and sub-cultures is led and managed respectfully and effectively
  • Innovation and best practice is identified and implemented
  • Communities and stakeholders actively participate in the change process
  • Services and service delivery is reviewed and optimised
  • Staff well-being and satisfaction is not compromised

The key difference between an amalgamation model and a boundary change is the immediate need for the adjusting Local Governments (boundary change scenario) to negotiate, agree and implement a resource allocation model that will drive the transmittal of employees from one entity to another, the transfer or vesting of assets and property and address all financial implications including liabilities and grants.

These challenges are discussed in detail in the Reform Toolkit.  Please refer to the Function: Financial Management - Long Term Financial Plan; Management: CEO and Executive Team - Asset ownership and transfer; and Asset Management: Impact of boundary changes.

It should be an agreed objective of the LIC that the transfer of employees resulting from boundary changes will be determined before the new Local Governments are formed. Although the allocation of all assets and liabilities may not be finalised prior to changeover day (July 2015), preliminary views will need to be established.  By making allocation decisions, the LIC and the Local Governments will be able to focus on the transition rather than on negotiating with neighbouring Councils.

The primary purpose of any transfers of assets and employees must be to ensure that service delivery continues. The transfer of liabilities and property recognises the obligations attached to or related to those employees and assets. In a number of instances, employees are associated with the assets and the transferring area and although staff allocations are to occur as a priority in order to assist the change process, the allocation of assets as a result of boundary changes will often directly affect the allocation of employees and should therefore be addressed as soon as possible.

It will be important for the LIC to ensure that the apportionment of all employees, assets and liabilities are based on the future service delivery requirements of the new entity and distributed accordingly.

5.     What role do the Elected Members play in the reform process?

The role of the Council and Elected Members includes community leadership and direction, critical oversight, monitoring the progress of the transition and implementation process, continuously communicating with the community and articulating a vision of an improved future. Elected Members need to understand the scale and scope of the Local Government Reform process and the strategic objectives that Local Government Reform has the potential to deliver for their communities. The strategic objectives will only be delivered if all participants at every level commit to the process and work in unison.

To ensure the reform process is implemented successfully, the Council will need to:

  • Endorse a comprehensive change management strategy
  • Establish accountability
  • Allocate resources Define and monitor strategic deliverables

Elected Members will oversee the implementation of the Local Government Reform process and will keep the community informed of the progress of the transition process.

It is important to note that the on-line Toolkit is aimed at practitioners to enable the implementation and it is recommended that Elected Members focus on the strategic deliverables listed in the Elected Member guide.

Elected Members have the opportunity to be the catalyst for positive change.

For further information refer to the Elected Member Guide in the tool bar.

6.     Why do we need to start planning now when the Governor’s Orders haven’t been issued yet?

Acknowledging that the Governor’s Orders have not been issued at this point, it is very important that this time is used to review and collate as much information as possible about the current state of play of each Local Government. It is highly recommended that Local Governments remain proactive and agile and undertake as much preparatory work as possible including ongoing communication with stakeholders and staff.

It is in the best interest of all to maintain momentum as at the end of Stage 1, the changeover day for the new entity will only be eleven months away. The inventory of information collated during Stage 1 of reform will assist staff in understanding and determining the areas that require further analysis and planning, identifying key risks, resources required and time frames necessary to complete the tasks effectively in readiness for Stage 2 and eventual harmonisation.

For further information refer to the Stages and Milestones section in the tool bar.

7.     What happens to the current contracts that we have in place?

Any contracts that the respective merging local governments have with third parties and the instruments that are held before the changes are effective will be considered to be held by the new local government or adjusted (boundary changes) local government.  For example, if one local government has a current five year Street Sweeping Contract which has been in place for two years, the new local Government will hold the contract for another three years until it has expired.

The new entity will be bound by the terms and conditions of the contracts and instruments currently held by the existing local governments until the expiration or re-negotiation of the contract.

Refer to Regulation 6 of the Local Government (Constitution) Regulations 1999 (WA) reg 6 (2) and reg 6 (4).