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Broken Hill City Council

Introduction

Broken Hill is a vibrant community on the edge of the NSW Outback. With a population of over 20,000 people it is the economic and cultural hub of Far Western NSW. The City boasts a thriving mining and service industry and welcomes over 300,000 tourists per year.

The desolate landscape surrounding Broken Hill has made it a Mecca for artists as well as filmmakers with both Mad Max 2 and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert filmed at Broken Hill.

Prior to the introduction of Infocouncil, Council used Word templates for reports, agendas and minutes, and they distributed and recorded these manually. Broken Hill City Council decided to make the transition to Infocouncil in November 2004. We conducted a before and after satisfaction survey with this council in December 2008, with Anne Johansson, Executive Assistant to the General Manager who was kind enough to share her experiences with us. All quotations are from Anne’s survey form.

Before Infocouncil

Anne stated that the manual process was able to deliver required results at council; however there were some difficulties and limitations. Anne shared with us some drawbacks encountered with this process.

Reports

Anne cited the difficulty of approving reports as a drawback with council’s previous process. Anne noted that “reports from managers [had to be] delivered to the General Manager” and that this process was “affected by availability of managers.”

When using Infocouncil the approval process does not present these problems as approval requests can be completed electronically via email.

Agendas and Minutes

When asked about converting agendas and minutes to PDF and HTML and publishing them on Council’s website, Anne stated that this was not done in their previous system.

Infocouncil allows authorised users to convert agendas and minutes to HTML and PDF, and then publish these to the web.

After Infocouncil

We asked Anne what changes had occurred since the introduction of Infocouncil and while Anne observed that the old process worked, she said that ultimately “Infocouncil has provided time and labour efficiencies.” Below, Anne points to some particular areas of improvement in the compilation of the Broken Hill City Council’s agendas and minutes.

Reports, Agendas and Minutes

The appearance and quality of agendas and minutes is “more standardised” according to Anne.

Regarding ease of access to information, Anne says it is “much easier to access reports [because] council publishes to website and intranet [providing] greater access.”

Action Sheets

Regarding using Infocouncil’s Action Sheets to advise officers of council resolutions and what is expected of them, Anne says “email of action sheets has significantly increased delivery of post Council work requests.”

Overall

Anne states that the “changes [were] well accepted” among councillors and that staff members are “well satisfied” with the process. Anne further states that on the whole when using Infocouncil, users have found that the “process runs smoothly.”