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Welcome to the 2013 Winter edition of the Mead Perry Group newsletter.
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In this Issue

  • What's New? (Updated Professional Services Retainer structure)
  • What have we been doing?
  • Conferences
  • Feature:  Plant Reviews
  • The Importance of Statutory Policies
  • Statistics of Councils
  • Our Specialist Services
  • Our Local Buy registration contract details

What's New?

Fresh Look at our Professional Services Retainer Agreements


After consultation with our clients, we have developed a number of products that are designed to be carried out on a regular basis and add extra value to our Professional Services Retainer arrangement, listed below;
  • Annual General Rates Revaluation Modelling;
  • Annual Plant Performance Update;
  • Annual Financial Forecasting Update;
  • Budget Review Facilitation;
  • Local Government Benchmarking Update;
  • Financial Key Performance Indicators Review; and
  • Staff Views Surveys.

As a Retainer client, you can choose to nominate any of the above projects on which to utilise your Retainer allocation or nominate any other project or service of your choice.

Retainer Benefits

  1. Council officers will have ready access to quality support as they need it;
  2. Council will have access to the MPG services at 20% off our standard rate;
  3. Flexible payment options (ie. Retainer payments can be made yearly, half yearly or quarterly in advance); and
  4. Retainer services can be provided under Local Buy arrangements.

It is our firm belief that organisations which have access to quality support services are much better placed to manage fluctuating workloads and to deal effectively with complex matters as they arise, thereby improving organisational performance and service to their community.

Contact us to request a more detailed product pack for your consideration.

Also, take a look at our new company website. We look forward to your valued feedback and suggestions to enable us to better assist you in your needs.

 


 

What have we been doing?

We have been keeping busy with a variety of specialist projects for Councils throughout Australia, including but not limited to;
  • Rates and Utilities Review for Council - 4 Councils;
  • Rates Review only - 1 Council;
  • Review of Policies and Implementation of a Policies database - 1 Council;
  • Stores Review – Procurement Function Review - 2 Councils;
  • Corporate and Operational Plans Review - 2 Councils;
  • Corporate Plan Review only - 1 Council;
  • Organisational Review - 2 Councils;
  • Change Management - 1 Council;
  • Financial Sustainability Investigations and Improvement - 2 Councils; and
  • Fleet / Plant Hire Review - 2 Councils.
Does your organisation need advice or assistance in any of these areas?

We can help.


MPG feel it is important to ensure good communication and networking continues to be a high priority with both existing and new clients to better serve needs of local governments and the issues that immediately affect you!

Lisa Benham, acting Manager of Financial Services, North Burnett Regional Council and John Perry of MPG developing financial KPIs.
John Perry of MPG and David Neeves, CEO of Cloncurry Shire Council discussing the Rates, Utilities and Budget review.
Scott Mead and John Perry of MPG delivering a presentation on their Corporate and Operational Plan reviews to Blackall-Tambo Regional Council.
Bulloo Shire Council CEO, Mike Hayward and Councillor Doug Clifford reviewing plants for the new Bulloo Shire Council offices.

Conferences
Sponsoring and Attending

Western Queensland Local Government Association (WQLGA) Conference, Windorah (29-30/04/2013);
John Perry attended the WQLGA conference in Windorah recently on behalf of MPG to undertake further networking and liaison with local government representatives in Western Queensland.

2013 LGMA National Congress, Hobart (18-21/05/2013);
Scott Mead and John Perry recently attended at the 2013 LGMA National Congress held in Hobart.
During this time, they were fortunate to undertake some quality networking both with current clients and other government representatives.
They commented on the value of learning from the experiences of practitioners in Local Government jurisdictions accross Australia and the Pacific.

Key Note Speakers were as follows;
Bob Brown is a former leader of the Greens and long time advocate on a range of environmental, social and civic issues.  Bob spoke on the great society and the role of local government.
Mark Pesce is an inventor, writer, entrepeneur, educator and broadcaster.  Mark led the Congress on discussions around modern democracy and community engagement in our hyper-connected world.
Thérèse Rein is the Founder and Managing Director of Ingeus, an Australian company operating from more than 150 locations across the world.  She is also the Chief Executive Officer of Assure Programs, a member of Chief Executive Women of Australia.  Thérèse spoke on the value of a Chief Executive Officer.
Dr Kathy Alexander, Chief Executive Officer of the City of Melbourne, heads up an organisation responsible for the workings of a dynamic and cosmopolitan 24 hour city that consistently rates top or near top of international surveys on liveability.  Dr Alexander spoke on indicators of a great society.
Bob Parker, is the Mayor of Christchurch City Council for a second term, having been interested in local affairs since 1993.  Mayor Parker spoke on the rebuilding and redeveloping of a great society.

Below please find some photos of our trip.

2013 LGMA National Congress - networking with Congress delegates.

Conferences
Sponsoring and Attending

2013 LGMA Queensland State Conference, Brisbane (03/09 - 05/09/2013);
2013 LGMA Branch Conference, St George (tba);
2013 LGMA Annual Congress, Western Australia (30/10 - 01/11/2013); and
2014 78th Annual Western Queensland Local Government Association Conference (WQLGA), Tambo (April / May 2014).

Sponsoring Only

2013 Tambo 150 Year Celebrations, Tambo (23 - 30/06/2013); and
Bedourie Ute and Travellers Muster (14/09/2013).


 

Further Conferences scheduled for your information

Queensland
Local Government Association
Local Government Managers Australia
South Australia
Local Government Association
Local Government Managers Australia

New South Wales
Local Government Association
Local Government Managers Australia
Victoria
Local Government Association
Local Government Managers Australia
Tasmania
Local Government Association
Local Government Managers Australia
Western Australia
Local Government Association
Local Government Managers Australia
Northern Territory
Local Government Association


 

Feature Story
Plant Reviews

Plant operation performance presents Councils with their best opportunity to generate revenue from sources other than its ratepayers and is likely to be an area in which efficiencies can be improved over time.

MPG senior consultant, Scott Mead has observed that “Given that often a significant percentage of plant activity is engaged in externally funded works, reduced profitability can impact negatively on Council’s “bottom line”. The more effectively the plant operation performs, the more profit is available to Council to utilise in other activities or for the development of community infrastructure.”

However the performance of plant operations is something that is often overlooked by Councils. In reviews undertaken by MPG over the years there have invariably been issues that have been impacting on profitability that once identified that can be quickly and simply addressed. These include:
  • Overheads not being recognised and or recovered.
  • Plant usage not being charged out.
  • Inappropriate plant hire rates.
  • Utilisation rates low.
  • Plant being kept too long.
  • High maintenance costs to do poor operation or inappropriate usage.
Mr Mead pointed out that “Councils have a significant financial investment in their plant operations and it is therefore critical to ensure that the activity is not only delivering a reasonable return on investment to the community but is also generating the capacity to fund the replacement of plant on an ongoing basis.”
An example of the impact of a lack of management of the plant operation can be seen in the following extract from a recent plant review. Unfortunately the issues identified are fairly typical.

It was noted that so far for 2012/13 financial year, of the approximately 410 plant items in Council’s plant register, 161 of them recorded losses, totalling in the order of $310,000.  This does not include depreciation and it is therefore likely that Council, in the first ten months of the financial year, has failed to charge out direct plant costs in the order of $500,000. While these losses have been offset by the profitability of Councils major plant items, it is clear that if addressed, the plant operation activity would significantly improve its performance.  In addition, it is noted that for that same period, approximately 90 plant items have had no time charged out and 33 of these items have no plant hire rate. The plant register should be reviewed to ensure that plant hire rates are correct and that any item that is to be booked out has an appropriate hire rate.

These reviews aim to provide Council with an independent analysis and assessment of the administrative aspects of its plant operation including the recovery of overheads to assist it in the making of informed strategic decisions about the management and operation of its plant operation.

They involve the review and analysis of information available in Council’s General Ledger, Assets, Plant and Job Costing systems and interviewing Council staff in order to identify issues which may affect Council’s capacity to operate a profitable and sustainable plant operation.

Mr Mead said he believed that “In carrying out a review of this nature, Council and Management are demonstrating sound management practice and a willingness to continually improve performance to the benefit of the residents of the shire.”

Importantly these reviews provide Council and Management with the information required to make informed decisions in relation to its plant operation.
In most cases the report makes recommendations on a range of matters which, if adopted and implemented, are expected to generate an immediate improvement in performance which will deliver improved profitability. These include addressing charging out issues, adopting revised plant hire rates and on-costs and addressing both the operational and strategic management of the plant activity.

In concluding the discussion Mr Mead said “We strongly suggest an initial review should be followed by the regular monitoring of the plant operation’s performance and at least an annual review of plant performance and hire rates.”


The Importance of Statutory Policies

With constantly changing legislation, it is vital to stress to our clients the importance of ensuring that all statutory policies have been adopted by Council. 

We can assist you with a review of your policies to ensure that your policies are not only compliant, but also meet your needs.


Interesting Statistics

The Queensland Department of Local Government has recently released the 2011/12 comparative data information. As shown in our first newsletter, this data is extremely useful in comparing different Council operations and charges.  

With this new comparative information, we are combining with the 2011 Census data.

The analysis work is permitting, as an example, benchmarking of general rates, matched against average weekly household incomes. The results provide a useful indication for Council in their budget deliberations.

Below are two graphs depicting the 2012/13 general rates as a percentage of the weekly household income from 2011 Census.

The first graph has excluded the larger towns in Queensland.  The second graph contains all the Council area.

 
The towns are ranked in order of population.

Our Specialist Services

Copyright © *|July_2013|* *|Mead Perry Group|*, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 142, Highfields   Qld   4352

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