Benchmarking Programme Q&A

Questions and Answers for the Local Government Operational and Management Effectiveness Self-Assessment Survey

1. What is the Local Government Operational and Management Effectiveness Programme and how has this opportunity come about?

The programme is made up of a Self-Assessment Survey that collects information from your local government and then benchmarks these via a series of metrics in a comprehensive report. In addition, there is also a Local Government Comparative Analysis Online Tool that assists local governments once they have their report to interactively compare the results from all local governments who participated. This enables you to do further analysis for greater insight and understanding.
This opportunity has come about because Local Government Professionals Australia WA works closely with other associations in Australia and LG Professionals, NSW has been very successful in rolling this out to over half of all NSW local governments and is now expanding this to both Western Australia and also NZ.
In NSW the initial roll out started in 2013 and was tracking three years initially with 80 local governments. LG Professionals, NSW welcomed SOLGM NZ and 26 NZ local governments into the Survey 3 process in 2015 so that these NZ local governments were also able to receive a report and Local Government Comparative Analysis Tool for the data from the financial year ended 2014/15.
The LG Professionals WA Board considered this opportunity in June 2015, and elected to join the initiative in 2016 so that WA local governments could commence as part of the full three year program (Surveys 4-6) in which both New South Wales and New Zealand local governments participating, and a greater number of local governments with which to compare.
We see this as an amazing opportunity to leverage this best practice project for WA local governments, to provide access to unique comparative local government data, and at a time when WA local governments are facing increasing pressure to demonstrate high performance.

2. What is the nature of the relationships between SOLGM NZ / LGMA WA, LG Professionals, NSW and PwC?

LG Professionals, NSW and PwC worked together originally to develop this for NSW local governments. Our association has worked to provide input and support in making sure this programme is relevant for our local governments and will be the point of contact in support of developing this into the WA programme. We are committing resources to launch and support the implementation process with local governments on behalf of LG Professionals, NSW. We are our industry leader and so will ensure that our local governments benefit from this programme by making sure it is relevant for Western Australia.
Your local government will have a direct contractual relationship for the delivery of the programme with both LG Professionals, NSW and PwC as service providers to you. LG Professionals WA is playing a support and oversighting role for LG Professionals, NSW and PwC to ensure a smooth process and to provide advice.
The relationships are collaborative and reflect the initial creation of the project in Sydney whereby both LG Professionals, NSW and PwC worked together voluntarily initially, to ensure that we had a viable programme of work before rolling it out. The creation of the original survey design was a joint effort utilising intellectual property from PwC in survey design and information analytics, as well as information from LG Professionals, NSW and the sector directly, through its members.

3. Will my local government’s report/s be completely confidential?

Yes, your report will be completely confidential. It will not be shared nor visible to anyone other than you (the local government recipient) and the specific PwC Analyst/s.
Only the aggregated results will be visible to LG Professionals WA and LG Professionals, NSW and all local government survey participants. Each local government will have to agree to the data use terms and conditions directly with PwC upon provision of the data into the survey portal. These will state that your local government will consent for the use of their own data by PwC Analytics for the specific purposes of generating findings for you as the survey participant, and that PwC can share only the aggregate sample results to enrich other PwC reports (similar to the way PwC will be utilising other aggregated PwC study findings across their global networks for the enhancement of your report and survey).

4. Can I distribute the report/s?

Yes, at your/your local government's discretion. There are clauses that you need to ensure are visible when presenting data yourselves, that explains the context for how recipients should interpret the findings they are reading.

5. How was the survey designed?

The survey was created from a series of consultations in NSW. Initially, a meeting was held with a group of local government practitioners (LG Professionals, NSW members) in 2013. The idea was to identify and outline the key areas of interest. LG Professionals, NSW piloted with 15 local governments a subset of the questions which were very successful. The content was reviewed again and confirmed with its focus refined to be on purely operational and management areas. A technical sub group was formed and LG Professionals, NSW proposed the final areas for research with input from this group.
SOLGM/ LG Professionals WA has been able to review all elements in the survey in light of our sector’s needs and minor adaptations have been made. We believe that by working together we can continue to refine this for the future also as part of the overall process and look forward to our members having input into the future development of this programme with our inter-state and international colleagues.

6. What does the programme cover?

The survey covers / measures the areas of:
 Corporate Leadership
 Operations Management
 Workforce Planning
 Finance Management
 Risk Management
 Service Delivery

Some of the questions you will be able to answer as a result of the report are:
o What is the level of corporate development, strategic planning and accountability in your council?
o What is the shape of your local government meetings and how effective are they?
o Are decisions being made at the right level?
o What quality of policy support do you have?
o How effective and efficient is your finance function?
o Is the business being supported with enough analysis?
o What impact does your budgeting process have?
o How effective is your rates collection and is there an impact on your cash flow?
o Is your operational planning and project management approach effective?
o How well are you managing your risk and supplier risk?
o How productive is your internal audit process for your size of business?
o What shape is your level of systems investment?
o Do you have a visible customer service focus in the organisation?
o What is the generational profile of your workforce and what is this showing you about your workforce capacity?
o Are your leave liabilities able to be more successfully managed?
o What are the indicators of workforce productivity telling you?
o What is the span of control and relative level of focus you have on management?
o What is the right level of training investment for optimal return?
o How robust is your workforce plan?
o Does your service profile differ to others?
o What do your proportions of ‘own workforce’ costs look like compared to your total service costs when compared to others?
o How does the profile of your workforce by service areas compare to the rest of the sector?
o Is your split of insourced and outsourced similar or different to other local governments?
o Does your service mix look different to the sector?

7. What is the Pricing?

Please see your letter of invitation and the Programme brochure attached.
You are being offered a range of discounts to encourage early uptake and commitment as well as ensure we have a good sample. You will receive the biggest discount (20%) by committing and encouraging your peers and neighbouring local governments to also participate, as we need to achieve the Threshold income target as outlined, to make the Programme viable.
All local governments which commit to join in the programme will be classified as ‘Foundation Councils’ and they will be guaranteed preferential pricing for all future programmes as it is anticipated this programme will continue beyond the next three years.

8. What is the commitment required of our local government? What level of work is required?

The process does require local governments to commit resource/s and project manage implementation in the local government. You may need support from IT to assist with an extract from your payroll and HR systems as well as support from Finance, and also HR, especially if your records are manual. In NSW the smallest local government in the state (1400 population) managed to do this successfully – as has the largest. We expect that local governments should not need to spend more than 2 weeks of one full time staff member the first time they do this.
There is a reasonable amount of work in this study for local governments but the benefits are significant so it’s worth the investment in time. PwC will support you significantly and in addition, Australian practitioners will be on hand should you need additional support. Staff are fully trained in what is required and they will be supported.
Upon agreeing to participate, you are obligated to do everything you can to ensure that your responsibilities under the programme are fulfilled to ensure the success for all participants.

9. What are my responsibilities as a participant?

Because the project only succeeds if there is a robust sample of WA local governments for benchmarking, the success of the programme depends on participating local governments providing their data effectively and on time.
It is possible that some data may not be able to be provided by a local government due to genuine practical reasons (especially as it is the first time for WA local governments), and in this case the local government will see their results for all data they provide and also see the total sample results for any areas they are unable to provide data for – in other words their own result will be blank.
However, should a local government participant fail to provide a significant amount of data (and in effect not participate), given the impact this can have on others, they will be charged 75% of their fees.

10. Can I join after the closing date of 30 June 2016?

In general, local governments will not be able to join after the closing date because there is a significant amount of implementation and management across both states and countries for PwC. It is therefore very important that you are ready and committed early for the project management to go smoothly for all.

11. Will the information in the Comparative Analysis Online Tool be confidential?

Your survey information will be completely confidential and no local government names will be displayed (i.e. they will all be de-identified).

12. What data will be in the Online Tool?

A range of survey metrics from local governments Survey 4 results, relevant publically available data on local government areas. The ability to sub-segment means you can look at results at a deeper level – across clusters of local governments who ‘look more like you’ / have your characteristics. For added precaution and confidentiality, once the filtering process is applied the Tool will only ever display results for 5 or more de-identified local governments.

13. Who can access the Online Tool?

It is intended that local governments will nominate 5 users who can access this tool in their local governments.

14. How do I access the Online Tool?

It will be available through a secure online portal and multiple users can access it at the same time. It is very easy to use and you will be trained on to use it.

15. How long will the Online Tool remain open?

All local governments will have access to the current survey metrics for one year until it is refreshed with the next survey data (likely to be around December 2017).

16. Can I print information from the Online Tool or export the visual representations held within it?

Yes, local governments can get access to the relevant elements of the Online Tool so they are useful in an ongoing sense to share within local government such as for use in reports or plans.

17. What are my responsibilities in using the Online Tool?

You can use the Online Tool as much or as little as you like for your own analysis and all we ask is that it is treated respectfully and is only for local government’s access.

18. What are the critical dates?

o Early Bird discount offer closes 30 April 2016
o Final Closing Date to join the programme – 30 June 2016 (all contracts must be signed by then)
o Webinar data briefings by PwC:
 Webinar 1: 9am – 10.30am – 2 March 2016
 Webinar 2: 9am – 10.30am – 10 March 2016
o Data submission begins first week of August 2016
o Final data submitted and local government review closes on 1st October (local government signed off)
o PwC Analysis October/November/ December 2016
o Report issued December 2016

19. How long do I have to decide whether or not I want to commit?

To be eligible for the Early Bird discount you must register your interest with our LG Professionals WA on or before 30 April 2016. The Early Bird discount will not apply after this date. At this point we will review how many local governments we have and assess if we made the project’s threshold amount to then apply the extra 20% discount to all participants’ pricing and advise local governments.
The absolute last date to decide and commit is 30 June 2016.

20. Who is providing the service?

LG Professionals, NSW is providing the service to all NZ and Australian local governments with PWC Sydney. There will be a contract for your local government’s commitment with LG Professionals, NSW and PwC as all three parties have responsibilities in this process. This contract is to ensure that the project parties are clear on their roles and understand what is happening and will cover:
- Principles of the service being provided
- Payment terms
- Best endeavours requirement on all parties
- Use and ownership of the data
- If the programme does not begin or fails to be fulfilled

21. What are the payment terms?

Payment terms will be 7 days from the invoice date and please note that only local governments who have paid their invoice/s can start to input data in the submission phase.

22. What is the timeline?

We plan to deliver your report by end of December 2016 (based upon your financial year ended June 2016 data) and the Tool may be available at that time or a little later. Future years will be likely to have reports continue to be delivered before the end of the calendar year.
To ensure a smooth process, ideally all contracts will need to be signed by 30 June 2016 to make these dates.

23. How will we get as many local governments as possible to become involved and reach the Threshold?

Here we need your help to support us promote this. We will be approaching all WA local governments directly with this programme opportunity. However, we are asking you to talk to your colleagues also and support us by promoting this regionally to encourage as many local governments as possible to join in to ensure there is a robust sample across the country as well as ensure a viable project.
LG Professionals, NSW and PwC will hold two special webinars with us, for all interested local governments in March and it would be ideal to encourage all local governments to come to these to find out more. It is in everyone’s interest to join considering the significant savings with a wider the reach and better sample.

24. Who can I contact for questions?

For general questions about the programme, please contact:

 Warren Pearce – CEO Local Government Professionals Australia WA or by phone on 9271 1136 / 0477 399 130

 Annalisa Haskell – CEO LG Professionals, NSW or by phone on 02 8297 1209 / 0421 582 099
To contact PwC about the technical details of the survey process, e-mail Sarah Gibson – Associate Director on

PLEASE NOTE: LG Professionals WA, LG Professionals, NSW and PwC reserve the right to review together whether to proceed with a go/no go decision. The decision will be made in the best interests of all parties and all local governments to achieve the best quality outcomes. We will need to monitor local government participation/sign up rates to this new initiative closely and this will determine if the project is both viable and of sufficient sample size, to warrant comprehensive analysis and subsequent reporting.

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