Reorganisation of council to encourage collaboration

The silos are being broken down at Blue Mountains City Council.

Instead of having insular departments that don't talk to each other or share information, the buzzword for a reorganised council will be "collaboration".

Cast aside will be the duplication and inefficiencies to be replaced with co-operation and working together.

The restructuring of council was already well in train by 2017 but was given a jolt when the asbestos safety concerns emerged in November that year.

Council general manager, Rosemary Dillon, said: "Council was very prompt. We attempted to address them responsibly and initiated the independent investigation."

At the same time, it became apparent that there were cultural and structural issues that needed to change.

In January, 2018, council endorsed an organisational performance review. There followed intensive consultation with the leadership team, with councillors and with all staff. More than 4,000 comments were received, Ms Dillon said.

Culture is changing: General manager Rosemary Dillon said the reorganisation will result in a more collaborative workplace.

Culture is changing: General manager Rosemary Dillon said the reorganisation will result in a more collaborative workplace.

Several priority areas were established. First was workplace health and safety, which is now in the office of Ms Dillon (who will be renamed chief executive officer).

Second, the "silo" problems, which had arisen through historical processes and had resulted in people who didn't communicate with each other.

"It was more a competitive rather than a collaborative culture," Ms Dillon said.

More trouble was found in council's multiple technology and business systems, with 38 different systems in operation, costing $1.2 million a year just in licensing and maintenance fees.

It meant many inefficient and time-consuming manual processes which were more prone to errors. A more integrated system will now be introduced.

The splitting of responsibilities between many departments/directorates had also caused staff problems, Ms Dillon said.

For example, waste management had two different directorates involved; similarly with tree management. It often resulted in tension between groups instead of working together.

"The message is let's not compete, let's recognise we are one organisation so let's collaborate and work together to serve our community."

The reorganisation will also ensure staff have access to better training, that corporate policies are more consistent and that roles and responsibilities for asset management are more clearly outlined.

"I think we actually are a very, very good council... I'm not saying we're perfect but we do a very reasonable job with what we've got," Ms Dillon said.