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Baw Baw Shire

Introduction

The Baw Baw Shire is located about 100 km to the east of Melbourne in the West Gippsland region. The Shire ranges from agriculture, primarily dairying, in the south, to the foothills of the Great Dividing Range across the north, where forestry is important. Mount Baw Baw itself offers skiing opportunities in winter. The Baw Baw National Park has a deer hunting open season and fly fishing is popular.

Prior to adopting Infocouncil for the management of agendas and minutes, Baw Baw used another proprietary application. This software had been found to be unsatisfactory at Baw Baw Shire Council. We are grateful to Amy Phillips, Governance Coordinator, for the following comparison between the two applications.

Reports

Amy states that the process for getting reports approved is a “vast improvement in Infocouncil as it can be done electronically." She also notes that for converting reports from normal to confidential, "Infocouncil beats [the former process] hands down for this!!!"

Agendas

Previously, when compiling agendas, the administrator "always needed to play with the agenda … to fix formatting and fix headers on each page." Ease of incorporating late reports into an agenda is "too easy in Infocouncil!" Ease of recompiling and repaginating is "too easy with Infocouncil again. Would never try doing this in [the former system] – it was a nightmare!!!" Infocouncil is again " too easy with a separate, confidential agenda compiled."

Minutes

Minutes were not kept in real time and now are. "In real time it is very easy."

Ease of access to information

Amy Phillips is "very happy with Infocouncil and staff can access the minutes and agendas as soon as completed."

Action sheets for following up decisions

Advising council officers of specific work requirements arising from minuted resolutions is now "fantastic. I would normally do this through a separate system. This is too easy!"

In general

Amy says she is "very happy" with the professional appearance and quality of agendas and minutes. Concerning time use efficiency by those who compile and handle the agendas and minutes, Amy says "[the former system] was a time consuming program to use. Infocouncil has saved a lot of time, and is very easy to use for report writers and for agenda and minutes compiling."

Rating the past and present processes

Here are Amy Phillips's ratings of the two systems:

Previous system: 2
Infocouncil: 8