Councillor Don Palmer Providing Local Leadership & Working for You

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.