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Bass Coast joins application for Rural Council Transformation Program Funding

Bass Coast joins application for Rural Council Transformation Program Funding

Friday 22 March 2019

At its March Ordinary Council Meeting, Bass Coast Shire Council committed to progress a joint funding application to establish the next stage of a shared services entity in Gippsland.

This initiative has been planned with three other Gippsland Councils - East Gippsland, South Gippsland and Wellington, all of which are still considering their participation in the application for funding.

In 2018, the four participating Councils announced their collaboration to investigate the establishment of a shared services model that may eventually deliver combined back-office/corporate services and IT functions into the future.

Shared services has the potential to provide Bass Coast with an innovative operating model that aims to maintain service levels while reducing duplication, improving efficiency and increasing savings.

Council resolved to be a participant in the entity, subject to a successful funding application under the Victorian Government's $20 million Rural Council Transformation Program (RCTP). The program aims to support projects that help make Victoria's regional and rural councils and the services they deliver more sustainable.

The other Gippsland Councils will each be considering their involvement in shared services over the next four weeks. Funding announcements are expected to be made early June 2019.

Over the last five months the four participating Councils have been working with KPMG to review the original business model and prepare a formal application for RCTP funding.

If the funding application is successful, the participating Councils will begin setting up the entity and undertake the necessary procurement processes. If the Councils progress beyond this stage, the potential then exists to access a centralised IT service, enhancing the capacity for a range of corporate services to be delivered centrally.

Bass Coast Chief Executive Officer, Ali Wastie, said it is important to remind the community of the aims for pursuing this initiative and to plan for any changes carefully.

"A key driver for this program is the recognition that local government needs to find better ways to deliver services to the community, while also exploring better ways to achieve long-term financial sustainability," Ms Wastie said.

"Not only do the functions need to be delivered to the same or better standard than the current state, they need to be delivered efficiently.

"The initial focus is on setting up the entity before considering other services to include or transition.

"As stated in Council's communications last year, for our community it will be business as usual when it comes to their day-to-day dealings with Council. The potential changes that could take place are in the back-office functions rather than direct service delivery roles," Ms Wastie concluded.