Devonport City Council has again been recognised for its ongoing focus on improving operational efficiencies and service delivery to the community through its digital transformation program, winning the 2021 Local Government Awards for Excellence at the 109th Annual Local Government Association of Tasmania Conference last week.
Devonport’s submission, The Road to Digital Transformation | A Council & Community Transformed, was successful in the ‘Delivering Excellence – Larger Council Award’ category, for Councils with a population of over 15,000. The award judges highlighted how Council has transformed the way it thinks about and delivers its services to the community, resulting in improved service delivery and operational efficiencies.
This is Council’s second award in three months that recognises the benefits achieved through Council’s digital transformation program, having previously won the LG Professional’s Award for Innovative Management Initiative in June.
Deputy General Manager Jeffrey Griffith, who initiated the organisational transformation in 2018, said few councils have progressed such large-scale organisational change and realised the benefits that Devonport City Council and the community have experienced.
Mr Griffith also acknowledged the benefits the digital improvements have had internally. “There has been a positive change in the organisation culture and benefits for staff have included increased productivity and reduced frustration.
“Digital transformation is now embedded into Council as a way of operating and therefore it is not a project that has a conclusion, but a culture of innovation that will continually push for new and better ways to operate.”
Mr Griffith said Council’s strategy is simple; cloud, mobility and simplify.
He said Council has undertaken more than 40 discrete projects throughout the entire digital transformation journey to date, including cloud records migration, complete Microsoft 365 implementation, TechnologyOne cloud transition, asset management system implementation, Business Intelligence, 300+ robotic process automations, cloud parking infringement technology, seven new Council websites, 90+ self service electronic forms for the community, 40+ internal electronic forms for employees, online service booking systems for planning, plumbing, environmental health, cloud-hosted telephony and much more.
The latest technological innovation is the introduction of a chatbot to Council’s website – a 24/7 online presence offering a personalised service and quick responses to enquiries.
“Devonport City Council believes that a digital business is not a choice, but a necessity to ensure that Local Government remains relevant and capable of high-quality service delivery while maintaining or reducing operational costs,” Mr Griffith said.
General Manager Matthew Atkins said he is very proud of what staff have achieved throughout the transformation and acknowledged that the accolade recognises all employees, right across the workforce both office and field based, for embracing change while continually focusing on how they can work smarter to deliver improved outcomes to the community.
“Organisations will continue to face disruption through new technologies and Council believes it is important to own and drive the change rather than to be forced into responding to the disruption,” he said.
Mr Atkins recognised that the digital improvements implemented prior to the COVID-19 pandemic ensured that the Council was well positioned to respond to the disruption of the pandemic and enabled Council to maintain employee productivity and continue to deliver services to the community with very little interruption.
Devonport Mayor Annette Rockliff accepted the award on behalf of Council and acknowledged that the change has been phenomenal, and the impact has been far reaching, resulting in a modern, efficient and digitally enabled operation, which brings benefits to the community.
Cr Rockliff congratulated all Council staff involved in embracing the change, which has also seen Councillors taking part in the digital transformation journey and actively engaging in communication over Microsoft Teams and collaborating in SharePoint.
“The whole-of-Council digital transformation has improved organisational processes and systems and has influenced a positive impact on organisational culture.
“It’s an exciting time to call Devonport home and Council is committed to making our city a great place to work, live and invest.”
Photo: Devonport Mayor, Councillor Annette Rockliff, accepts the Delivering Excellence Award from LGAT President, Mayor Christina Holmdahl and LGAT CEO, Mr Dion Lester at the 2021 Local Government Awards for Excellence, at the 109th Annual Local Government Association of Tasmania Conference last week.