High achiever - Tanya Whalley Manager Policy and Compliance, Brisbane City Council

Article image - High achiever - Tanya Whalley Manager Policy and Compliance, Brisbane City Council

In the wake of Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into integrity and accountability within local government culminating in the Belcarra report, there has been increased attention paid to governance.

A new level of scrutiny
As Brisbane City Council Policy and Compliance Manager, Tanya Whalley is firmly focused on the organisation’s governance functions and ensuring Council and its staff adhere to the legislative and policy frameworks. She acknowledges the task is not always easy, particularly as some of these guidelines impact on what Council officers can do in their day to day roles, and the rules can sometimes be seen to be a hindrance.

“Whilst this can prove difficult at times, my role and the role of my team is to provide guidance and try to come up with a solution that meets the need of the business as well as ensuring Council complies with its legislative obligations and policies.”

In recent months Whalley and her team have concentrated on ensuring Council’s corporate rules, policies, procedures and guidelines are consistent with the State Government local government reform changes resulting from the Belcarra Report.  

“Some of these legislative changes have already been implemented however there are more to come in the next month or so.”

The new scrutiny on governance is set to intensify in the next few months.

“Given that the local government elections are only about five months away, I envisage that my team will be called upon quite a bit over the next period to provide advice and guidance leading up to March 2020.

Bigger can be better
Brisbane City Council is the largest local government in Australia with over 8000 full time equivalent staff and over 380 types of jobs.

“Brisbane City Council is a fantastic place to work and provides its employees with excellent working conditions and opportunities. It also offers a range of challenging and diverse roles that have a direct impact on the Brisbane community.”

For Whalley, the size of the organization and variety of opportunities that offers is one of its assets.

“I love the diversity of Council and the ability to work in many and varied roles within the one organisation.”

Her career at Brisbane City Council began in 1995 as an administration officer within the then Department of Recreation and Health.  At the time she was studying a Diploma of Business Management and thought local government was a good option to utilise the skills that she was learning about and it proved a perfect platform to develop them further in a work environment.

“I think initially it was the working conditions that drew me to Council however I quickly learnt that Brisbane City Council offered much more than that.”  

“Over the years I have worked in many divisions and roles.  Some of these roles have included branch co-ordinator, executive assistant, executive officer, senior policy officer and now policy and compliance manager.  

“For the majority of the past 14 or so years, these roles have been in City Administration and Governance Division (formerly the Office of the Lord Mayor and Chief Executive Officer) and my roles for at least the past six years have had a governance focus.”

Valued organiser
Councillor Kim Marx, nominated Whalley as a council high achiever for the work she does behind the scenes to support the councillors.
“Tanya looks after all the councillors at the local government conference and ensures we are all where we are supposed to be and when. We couldn’t do without her organizational skills.”

Attending conferences with the councillors is one aspect of her role that Whalley finds particularly interesting.

“For the past six years I have been privileged to attend the Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly and also the Local Government Association of Queensland Annual Conference to provide executive support to Council’s nominated delegates.  

“This opportunity has allowed me to meet many elected officials from councils across Australia and to hear first-hand the many challenges facing local governments around the country.  

“It is also a wonderful opportunity to learn from other councils and to network with like-minded passionate individuals within the local government sector.

“Over the years, I have met some very inspirational people and developed some fantastic networks across not only Brisbane City Council and the broader local government sector, but also state government and industry bodies.”