The times they are a changin’

As we experience these times of change that are challenging us I am making changes to help my communication with you so we can better affect the changes that are to be made and ensure as much as possible that they are all positive changes.

 

2015 is on us and we will all (elected members and ratepayers alike) be involved in setting the scene for the future of the City of Unley. Never before has there been such a critical time in history as we determine the City of the future, the city that our kids and grand-kids and beyond will inherit.

Good communication is as important now as any time in history and developing good communication skills within the elected member body, the management and the staff of the City of Unley is one of the dreams I will be pursuing in the immediate future.

As part of this I have remodelled (as you can see my website). A lot of thought and work has gone into the redesign, with the aim of providing a cleaner more professional look to my site.

I have also launched a Facebook page for those of you who prefer to keep contact via social media. If you are on Facebook search for my name and like me and you will have direct access to more than just my blogs. More of what….that is where you must show your interest by having a look.

Council is playing its part in this electronic world to be converting the emails for elected members from their current server to the Council’s server, linking us to all the management and staff. The subtlety of this is our email addresses changes with the removal of the “em” component.

My email address is now [email protected]

Please note this and use it, to ensure the best possible response time to emails while the old email is still active and being redirected.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE PROGRAM

That is the title given to a report put before Council last night. The report was the culmination of our Administration’s research into improving our communication with you.

Some of my early day blog posts identified that while I always, as a business owner engaging with various councils, felt that Unley was one of the best I recognised a lot of internal problems once on board that indicated they could improve immensely. I identified problems in the processes and procedures that were of a concern.

Our administration under the new management set up 12 months later have clearly identified likewise, possibly with a little nudging from me. There were no formal followup procedures for instance, meaning a member of the public would not necessarily know what we did about their concern.

There were a number of similar concerns I had. We were doing the work but not communicating we had done the work. A sort of our job is to execute the task; you should know its done without us telling you.

There is much to like about the report. It has taken initial procedural changes implemented a couple of years back now and formalised them a lot more. It includes a new system wherein elected members for a trial period and then you (if it works) can log a concern and then check the progress yourself on line.

I am encouraged by this but as I indicated last night in moving the motion to receive the report I see this as but one small step in the right direction. This gives me confidence that what I want to bring to council in the next term is achievable.

Achievable because our management recognises our need to improve our communication. Achievable because I saw acknowledgement in their faces when I pushed that it is not only procedures that need to be changed and formalised but we need to develop a cross council skill set in communication.

In keeping with recent posts on this topic our staff, our management, and yes the elected members, can all do with some training in communications skills.

And achievable because I heard a number of the elected members also recognising that this is needed.

The council of the future should be one that hears what you are saying and talks to you in a language you understand, not in council speak.

Council Communications Update

I can confirm I met with our Manager Community Development to explain my take on our need to improve our communications.

The meeting was productive I believe. As with my meeting with our CEO last week I felt my observations aware not just acknowledged and/or understood but taken on board as a priority for council going forward.

Having another favourable response gives me the motivation and incentive to remain your elected member after the upcoming elections. It is good to see that those at the top are willing to buy into my suggestions.

If we can over time improve then your interaction with Council can only improve. I’ll bet you would love all staff you deal with at Council to be as receptive as he best you have dealt with.

Imagine that a responsive public service.

And if we get that right then some of the hurdles we face with a consultations will improve, reducing the number of times we get confusing letters (like the recent DPA2) correspondence.