Bob Such’s push for Big is Beautiful as the panacea for the future of Councils in South Australia has had the headlines in recent times. In the meantime the Local Government Industry has been active in defining it’s own future and not with a simply Big is Beautiful philosophy.
Back in 2011 the LGA launched the Local Excellence Program and invited Councils to respond to four theme papers and to 68 project proposals. The Program incorporates a range of new reform activities that the LGA is seeking to engage Councils in and incorporates current activities that fit within the aims of the Program, which are to:
- Redefine the role and functions of Councils in key areas of activity;
- Consolidate opportunities and identify service innovation using test sites;
- Enhance the skills of staff and Council Members in governance and community engagement;
- Identify the barriers to service delivery, governance and intergovernmental excellence in SA and strategies to raise performance; and
- Undertake research to enhance future State/Local Government relations.
In April of this year a three person expert panel to guide the development of a vision for a “Council of the Future”. The Panel will be chaired by former State Government Minister, Hon Greg Crafter with former District Court judge, Christine Trenorden and the Director of the Australian Centre for Excellence in Local Government, Professor Graham Sansomearch to enhance future State/Local Government relations.
The Panel will work to describe Councils of the Future from various perspectives and using a consultative approach will form small reference and working groups from key projects within the Excellence Program to help chart the future.
A far cry from just looking at larger councils. Maybe our friend could provide input to this panel.