Resource sharing moves up a notch

Kentish and Latrobe Councils in north west Tasmania are taking resource sharing very seriously. Serving a combined population of around 12,000 people, the two Councils have already fully integrated their Engineering and Works programs. The Planning and Development Branch is also integrated with building, health and planning handled on a joint basis.

A significant step in resource sharing was the decision by the two Councils to purchase a joint computer system. The system, to go live early next year, will give both Councils access to the latest in computer technology. It will be housed at Kentish with a ISDN line linking it to the Latrobe Council Office.

In a further step, the recent resignation of its General Manager saw Latrobe Council put a proposal to Kentish that its General Manager, Grant Atkins, take on this role for the two Councils. Although both Councils are keen to expand their resource sharing, it was agreed that the sharing of the General Manager should proceed on a three month trial basis.

The trial will conclude on 1 December. During this three month period, the two Councils, together with a consultant and the General Manager, are also determining the future of resource sharing, as well as an appropriate Council structure to prepare both Councils for the National Competition Policy.

“The ultimate goal is to retain the individual identity of both Councils but, at the same time, provide the community with quality services in the most cost effective manner,” said Grant Atkins.

“Under the sharing arrangements, each Council not only retains their own identity but has their own budget, policies, and monitors their own programs.”

Both Councils are currently consulting with residents to ascertain their views on the resource sharing arrangements. If the outcome is to continue building on the resource sharing, integration of the Finance and Corporate Services areas will be considered next.

For further information contact Grant Atkins, telephone (03) 6491 1103.