thumbnail

City of Canterbury

Introduction

Canterbury City has a rich history and bustling cosmopolitan flavour. Located seventeen kilometres south west of Sydney, it covers an area of 33.4 square kilometers, has a population of 140 000 people and has sixteen suburbs within its boundaries. It is known as the “City of Cultural Diversity” with 48% of its residents being born overseas. As a city made unique by its cultural diversity, the City of Canterbury offers a wide range of multicultural services and facilities to its residents.

Canterbury City and Infocouncil

Canterbury City Council had previously been using another proprietary software package for the electronic management of their agendas and minutes. Council made the decision to switch to Infocouncil in November 2009 after discovering that Infocouncil had a range of features that were better equipped to handle the operations of Canterbury City Council.

Lia Chinnery, the City of Canterbury’s Governance Coordinator, kindly completed a customer feedback survey for us. All quotations are taken directly from the survey form.

Report Writing

We asked how Infocouncil’s report writing module was viewed.

“Creating reports in Infocouncil helps us to maintain Council styles and formatting and is a great improvement on the previous system…. The additional advantage is knowing where a report is in the authorisation process.”

These are the main benefits as listed by Lia:

  • “Ease of creation of reports by report writers
  • Inclusion of the protected sections of the template meaning that consistency and standardisation are maintained
  • Authorisation process
  • Templates designed to suit our purposes and the fact we can edit the templates as required
  • Ability for administrators to know what stage a report is at and also to know who the original author was”.

Agenda Compilation

We asked what the main benefit of using Infocouncil for agenda compilation was and if there were any difficulties experienced in automatically compiling the agenda. Lia’s response was “compilation is faster and more reliable”.

We inquired into the ease of using Infocouncil for incorporating late reports into an agenda, recompiling and renumbering/repaginating, changing the queue order of reports, incorporating attachments, including PDF attachments, and the procedure for dealing with confidential items. In all of these areas the response was that the process with Infocouncil was “very easy”.

Minute Taking

The main benefits of minute taking using Infocouncil were summarised as being:

  • “Faster, more reliable compilation of draft minutes
  • The system has very good automatic inserts”.

Actions

In terms of managing actions arising from the minutes we asked about the means of advising council officers of specific work requirements arising from resolutions.

“Infocouncil has customised ‘action sheets’ which we call strips for CCC. This works very well for our purposes and is faster than the previous system.”

Infocouncil Help Desk

During the course of the survey we also asked about Infocouncil’s staff and service, specifically we asked how the following would be rated:

  • Our ability to deal with problems; “Excellent”
  • How timely we were with responses; “Excellent”
  • How helpful we are; “Very Helpful”
  • And if we were accessible when needed; “Yes, very much so”

Overall

To conclude we asked “For better or worse, how has the introduction of Infocouncil affected the work of those involved with agendas and minutes?”

The response was: “the major improvement on the previous system is that Infocouncil provides us with the confidence of having a reliable system which creates more efficient work flows and processes. We love it!”