Theme 4: Responsible Governance

Council continues to focus on excellence in governance by continually improving and refining practices within the organisation to create efficiencies and improve financial sustainability.  Council continues to meet community expectations for timeliness in responding to requests and overall performance in dealing with community requests.

Council will continue to take steps to ensure consistency with the organisation’s Long Term Financial Plan and to meet the benchmarks for financial sustainability. Council’s financial sustainability is sound and completion of capital works projects improving.

Council works hard to overcome the challenges facing the Shoalhaven and its community. Continually balancing the needs of our precious natural environment and the expectations of a growing community. It is encouraging to see a significant increase in community awareness of engagement projects.

Measures

Description

2016/17

2017/18

Comment

Community perception of council’s services, overall performance satisfaction (rating out of 5 – community survey)

3.4

3.3

No significant change

The number of community appreciation comments recorded by Council

290

264

Measure records formal notifications only

Timeliness of council responding to community requests (rating out of 5 – community survey)

4.0

3.8

No significant change

Overall performance of council in dealing with your request (rating out of 5 – community survey)

3.9

3.7

No significant change

Financial sustainability – Debt service cover ratio (ratio – audited results)

3.7x

5.5x

Council’s ability to service debt with operating cash is strong

Total capital projects expenditure (percentage)

68

77

Includes General Fund and Water

Community’s awareness of community engagement projects and initiatives (percentage – community survey)

35

49

Large increase due to improved engagement processes

Active participation in community engagement projects/initiatives (percentage – community survey)

Not recorded

25

Base line figure

Achievements

  • Key Shoalhaven Water projects including:
    • REMS 1B project expenditure is 80% of budget and on target, including purchases of major plant and equipment.  The project is due for completion in the first half of 2019.
    • Sewer Pump Station switch control replacements commenced
    • The SCADA replacement program commenced and approximately 30% of the three-year program was completed.
    • Sussex Inlet water minor mains replacement completed.
    • Lake Tabourie water main completed.
    • Coolangatta Road replacement water main is 90% complete.
    • The water supply system has operated to meet peak demands over the last 6 months. Membranes at the Kangaroo Valley Water Treatment Plant were replaced to improve supply within that scheme.
    • Nowra to REMS 1A Transfer Main completed.
    • TM43 Bolong Rd water main replacement commenced.
    • TM74 Sussex Inlet water main replacement project completed.
    • Tannery Rd Cambewarra water main extension completed.
  • Alternative payment options for council services has seen a reduction in over the counter transactions
  • The Ulladulla Service Centre has continued to deal with significant volumes of face to face enquires
  • Development within the City continues at a high level and is reflected in the number of applications being received
  • Adoption of South Coast Cooperative Libraries’ Collection Development Policy
  • Nowra Library refurbishment completed
  • Creation of a new web site for the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery Nowra. This project provided a template for future Council web sites
  • Gallery operated with consistent opening hours, efficient information supply, clean and professional exhibition space, and welcoming to all visitors.
  • Gallery closures during exhibition change overs posted on social media and website
  • Summer bus service Bay and Basin area
  • Safer roads, improved infrastructure – Berry School of Arts
  • Involvement in Berry bypass and improvements on local level after handover from RMS
  • Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Centre construction is on track for Jan 2019practical completion. Foundations in advanced state of completion including floor slabs. Lift shaft & stairwell construction commenced and carpark drainage works complete

Council’s infrastructure backlog ratio (backlog of works to be done on infrastructure) is again dropping given Council’s efforts in this area. More work however, is required to bring it back to an acceptable level.

scc-cr_chart_ 4.1_a

  • Mollymook Access-for-All playground and amenitieswere completed in December 2017, Lake Conjola Boardwalk was completed in November 2017 and Worrigee St streetscape works were also completed in October 2017
  • Approval of Special Rate Variation was granted by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal. This will enable Council to meet the requirements of Fit for the Future and to provide additional funding for roads maintenance and repair and asset renewal.
  • Ongoing focus on providing excellent customer service with our Customer Service Team nominated for the best customer service provision in the “Best of the Best” competition
  • The Certification team is working towards engaging additional clients to improve the overall market share from Private Certifiers. The team is focusing on certification as a business and will be operating in a similar fashion to private certification firms
  • Provision of training pathways and apprentice opportunities to encourage a “grow your own” strategy for employment in the region and for key careers within Council. Continued support of the employment showcase held at Wollongong University Shoalhaven Campus to ensure that Council has employees equipped to service our community
  • Sustainable Childcare Service Funding provided for 2018/19 - 2020/2021 which will deliver ongoing high-level service provision to clients and support for educators 

There are a number of highlights for the reporting period. These include:

  • Highlights from Shoalhaven Water:
    • Updated Asset Management Plans for Water and Waste Water
    • Communications Facilities Asset Management Plan updated
    • Asset Management Strategy completed
    • Continuation of componentisation of complex assets as per Asset Management Improvement Plan
    • Draft Development Services Plans – 90% complete
    • Quarterly flyers accompanying water accounts
    • Website updated to reflect current activities and customer business activities
    • Review of customer service plan to reflect national and state performance benchmarking completed
    • Renewed effluent contract service completed and customer communication maintained
    • Promotion of water services to community public facilities with installation of water filling stations
  • Unqualified auditor’s report on Council’s 2016/17 annual financial statements

Council’s ability to service debt with income continues to be strong. The long term average of 4.35x is very good considering the benchmark is 2x.

scc-cr_chart_4.2_a

  • Shoalhaven Mechanical Services participation in the Milton-Ulladulla Driver Education program to provide an understanding of vehicle maintenance
  • Implementation of a software solution for Council’s integrated planning and reporting framework to assist in the reporting and tracking of Councils priorities and processes
  • A continued focus on improvements to communications with the community is progressing well including the implementation of information nights, continued delivery of a weekly e-newsletter, improvements in communicating planning and strategies to ensure timely delivery of communications on key Council projects.

While the number of formal GIPA Act applications remains constant, there has been a continual increase in informal GIPA Act applications.

scc-cr_chart_ 4.2_b

  • Workforce Strategy and Disability Inclusion Plan which include strategies to address diversity in the workplace has been adopted by Council. Initiatives funded for 2017/2018 year are in progress
  • Council has implemented electronic business papers to enhance the efficiency of the production and delivery of Council business papers
  • Council reviewed its insurance cover as part of the annual renewal process and continues to manage claims effectively and refers to external advisers when required.
  • Based on last rates notice distribution, uptake of electronic distribution is at 9.4% compared to an 8% target

Council has retained a focus on improvements with communications and engagement with the community. Over the last six months a key focus has been:

  • The Biosecurity Act 20105 was enacted on 1 July 2017. Several community forums were held to inform the community of the new legislative requirements
  • Activities included Berry Small Farm Field Days – 2-day commitment
  • Several community talks with local farming networks and groups such as CWA
  • Active one on one engagement by Biosecurity staff with landholders to inform them of the new legislative requirements. This process is ongoing
  • Production of the Gumboot and Frontline News and two issues of Bushcare Links newsletter published
  • Saltmarsh brochure distributed to 1200 residents of Burrill Lake, Culburra Beach and Kings Point
  • Notification of development applications in accordance with Council Policy and maintenance and promotion of Council’s DA Tracking website
  • Wide range of community consultations and engagements undertaken on various matters including Planning Proposals, Development Control Plan amendments and similar
  • Numerous Community engagement initiatives for projects such as SCaRP, Bay and Basin Hub, Parramatta Park Learn to Ride, Berry District Park – engagement conducted face-to-face, via social media and web
  • Engaged with the community of East Nowra to get their input into the Our Place Action Plan and the Parramatta Park Learn to Ride facility
  • Relevant policy reviews at Gallery completed and put on public display when necessary
  • Our Community Information Sessions were a key feature of Council’s engagement with the community over the last 6 months. These sessions featured a range of key Council projects and provided an opportunity for the community to find information out about a range of plans and projects at the one time
  • Ongoing support for Council’s committees, including support for the provision of communication plans, work plans and strategies was provided through this reporting period

The number of correspondence items received from the community continues to grow. Given the current rate of growth in items received it is calculated that our records department will be handling over 107,000 items per year by 2021.

scc-cr_chart_ 4.3_a

  • Ongoing communication with our special interest groups, environmental groups and Community Consultative Bodies was undertaken through a range of communication methods including, Enews, social media platforms, workshops, briefings, meetings, TV advertisements, Radio advertisements, Banners and displays.
  • Key community consultations included:
    • Library Strategy
    • Waste Reduction Management Strategy
    • Berry District Park
    • Delivery Program and Operational Plan
    • Special Rate Variation