Welcome to the 2013 Spring edition of the Mead Perry Group newsletter.

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In this Issue

  • What's New? (New Office Manager)
  • What have we been doing?
  • Feature: Change Management
  • Conferences
  • Diamantina Shire Councillors Receive Awards
  • Interesting Statistics
  • Our Specialist Services
  • Mead Perry Group joined Facebook!
  • Our Local Buy registration contract details

What's New?

New Office Manager

After only twelve months with us, Jodi Laughton has decided to relocate to Hervey Bay to be closer to her family.

We now welcome Caitlin James as our new Office Manager. Caitlin will be a full time employee with Mead Perry Group and the first point of contact for the business. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge in Administration and Customer Service.

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 - 2 Councils;
  • Operational Plans Review - 2 Councils;
  • Corporate Plan Review only - 2 Councils;
  • Change Management - 1 Council; 2 Projects
  • Financial Sustainability Investigations and Improvement - 2 Councils;
  • Budget Review - 1 Council;
  • On-cost Review - 1 Council;
  • Delegations Review - 2 Councils;
  • CEO Performance Review - 1 Council;
  • CEO Recruitment - 1 Council; and
  • Plant Hire Review - 1 Council.
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!

Feature Story
Change Management

Why not make change a positive for your organisation?

All organisations are challenged by the need for change. Whether driven by external or internal imperatives, an organisations’ success is largely based on how well change is managed.
Essentially organisation’s have three ways of dealing with change.
  1. Ignore the need for change.
  2. Allow ad hoc and isolated action by individuals in responding to change.
  3. Manage change in a proactive and structured way that has a definitive aim of delivering improved outcomes.
On the positive side, the first two options require little in the way of organisational resources; however the failure to respond proactively to change drivers will inevitably impact on organisational performance. In the current challenging Local Government environment, Councils cannot afford to sustain below optimum performance in any of it functional areas.
So how can the need for change be identified and managed effectively?
Firstly the areas that require change need to be identified and prioritised.
This can be delivered as part of a broader organisational review or through a process of issue identification. The key aspect of this process is that it should be inclusive of all areas of the organisations and if necessary, stakeholders. This will ensure that all pressing issues are identified. The likelihood that the list will be quite long means that there is a need to prioritise which matters will be addressed first.
The next steps are to:
  1. Fully scope the projects ensuring that internal stakeholders have a clear understanding of what is required to be delivered and the costs to deliver that project; This includes:
    • Project Business Case
    • Primary Project Objectives
    • Project Benefits
    • Primary Project deliverables
    • Project Independencies and Inputs
    • Project Conditions (Assumptions, Issues, Risks & Constraints)
    • Project Critical Success Factors
    • Project Duration Estimates (including Milestones)
  2. Select project teams from a cross section of staff who have some involvement in the process on a day to day basis; and
  3. Work with the project teams to assist in their delivery of the project outcomes and milestones.


Once the projects have been identified and prioritised the individual projects will follow the methodology of a Business Process Review and will consist of three main elements. They are:

1. Current Analysis:
  • The project team will document how the process is currently being completed. The aim is to document the process, rather than identify the best process;
  • Gather historical information that has been collected on the process so that this information is not lost, but rather document for potential future use;
  • Identify the advantages and disadvantages of the current approach;
  • The documented information will be presented to the Senior Management Team, so that they as well as the project team will have a clear understanding of current process.
2. Future Vision:
  • The importance of Councilor and Senior Management Team input is highlighted during this phase.  The project team is required to identify how the process may work in the future, assuming that financial or staff resources are not an issue.  There are to be no restrictions on the aim to have the best process;
  • A presentation will be made to the Senior Management Team on the project team’s vision for the future.  It is important that the management team use their knowledge and own vision to ensure that the project team has identified all the potential options for best practice.
3. Implementation Plan:
  • During this phase, the project team must consider the best approach for moving forward to achieve the process model.  The initial aim is for quick wins, that will maximise financial benefit to Council, create an easier process for staff to use and encourage staff to adopt a positive attitude towards the longer term elements of the change program;
  • Definite timelines
Ensure that project timelines are determined and adhered to. Ideally a project should be completed within three months to ensure that energy is sustained and the process does not drag out.
  • Executive support
It is vital that all executive team members are seen to support the project and support their staff in meeting their obligations to the project.
  • Resources
As these projects will take staff “off line” for some time during the project, there is a need to ensure that sufficient resources are available to support them and the project team in working on the project.
  • Project management
It is vital that the project is managed by an individual who can coordinate the project and keep participants “on track” and provide them with guidance and support as they work through the project.
  • Staff recognition
It is important that the contribution made to the project by staff is recognised by management and Council.
MPG senior consultant, Mr John Perry said that he “believes that a well managed change project will not only deliver clear improvements to organisational performance within a set time frame but is a great personal and professional development opportunity for staff involved and it also brings a greater sense of team work and understanding across the organization.”

Mark Crawley President LGMAQ and Scott Mead MPG

John Perry and Tim Fynes-Clinton and Jess from King & Co
Ken Timms CEO Blackall-Tambo RC, John Perry of MPG and Cale Dendle Gladstone Regional Council

Debra Colledge & Rebecca from Local Buy and Mark Watt CEO Longreach Regional Council

Interesting Statistics

10 Year Financial Forecast

Mead Perry Group has been assisting councils for a number of years to maintain their 10 year financial forecasts.  In addition to supporting the use of statutory financial models for reporting and loan applications etc we are utilising historical data and other comparative data to broaden the data available for analysis.  From a management perspective, this additional information adds value through the provision of a broader range of variables and better informed trend analysis.

Annual Staff Costs

The use of this approach allows for otherwise unavailable trend analysis.  For example, staff numbers can be compared with employee costs (Note: numbers are at year end, not for the full year).  In the graph shown, costs have risen from less than $40,000 per year per person to $60,000 in 2012.  This change may be the result of increased staff overtime in flood restoration activity however forecast years show a significant increase and then drop in average staff costs. This analysis of these model outputs suggests that Council should review its projections.

Depreciation v Capital Expenditure

The trends for new and replacement capital expenditure compared with depreciation can demonstrate if you are forecasting an appropriate level of asset replacement and or if your depreciation schedules are accurate.  The two graphs below both show the replacement spend greater than the funded depreciation.

Cash and Debt

Cash at bank is one indicator of a business’s financial status. It can be useful to compare this indicator with others over a similar period to gain a broader picture of what is occurring.  In the example below, a comparison of Cash at bank with cash cover indicates that while cash is increasing from 2010 to 2013, the cash cover ratio varies down in 2012. This indicates that financial turnover is increasing without a corresponding increase in cash held.

The Queensland Audit Office 2011/12 report included financial sustainability measures on ratios for operating surplus, net financial liability and capital expenditure.  To be categorised in the “Lower” risk category, a council should have an operating surplus of greater than 0%, a net financial liability ratio of less than 60% and a capital expenditure ration of 1.5.

Operating Surplus Ratio

The graphs below show two Council’s operating surpluses commencing from 2003/04 financial year.  The first graph shows an average historical surplus of 10% and 2% for the forecast period. Given council’s historical performance the forecast would seem achievable. The second Council has an average historical surplus of 2% and 5% for the forecast period.  Given council’s historical performance the forecast would seem less likely to be achieved. This demonstrates the value in having access to historical as well as forecast information.

Capital Expenditure Ratio

The graphs below show two Council’s operating surpluses commencing from 2003/04 financial year.    The first graph has an average historical Cap Ex ratio of 2.2 and 1.5 for the forecast period.  The second graph has an average ratio of 1.7 and 1.9 for the forecast period. The first may be forecasting conservatively and the second may be lacking in detailed forecast data. It is noticeable in both graphs that a large capital expenditure in one year is generally off-set by a lower spend the following year.  On average, they both have an acceptable risk rating.

Net Financial Liability

Many councils we work with have the net financial liability ratio well below the targeted 60%. 

Sponsoring and Attending

2013 LGMA Queensland State Conference, Brisbane (03/09 - 05/09/2013);
Scott Mead and John Perry attended the LGMA Queensland State Conference in early September.

The Conference returned to Brisbane for the first time in 12 years and was held at the newly restored Brisbane City Hall. This year’s theme, Mapping Local Government, focused on the key foundations of local government success – innovation, leadership and engagement, with presentations and workshops from experienced practitioners in the areas of:
  • Community Services;
  • Governance;
  • Corporate Planning;
  • Finance; and
  • Infrastructure
117th Annual LGAQ Conference, Cairns (21/10-24/10/2013);
Scott Mead and John Perry attended the 117th Annual LGAQ Conference in Cairns, QLD

The conference was themed around 'Value for Money' with the idea that it is a reflection of a financial climate which is increasingly seeing Queensland Councils delivering 'more with less'. The two and a half day event involved an array of key note speakers including:  

Hon Jeff Seeney MP - Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning and Member for Callide,  
Cr Sir Merrick Cockell - Chair, UK Local Government Association,
Hon David Crisafulli MP - Minister for Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience,
Cr Tom Tate - Mayor, Gold Coast City Council,
Cr Jenny Whitney - Mayor, Whitsunday Regional Council,
Cr Deirdre Comerford - Mayor, Mackay Regional Council,
Dr Neil Norton-Knowles MA (Econ), LLB (ANU), D. Phil (Oxford) - Fiscal Economist and Financial Advisor,
Gary Pert - Chief Executive Officer, Collingwood Football Club,
Hon Campbell Newman MP - Premier of Queensland,
Tim Mulherin MP - Shadow Minster for State Development, Infrastructure, Planning and Racing, Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, Local Government, Science IT and Innovation,
Rt Hon Cr Graham Quirk - Lord Mayor of Brisbane,
Dr Helena Popovic.

Diamantina Shire Councillors receive long service awards

Diamantina Shire Mayor Cr Geoff Morton and Deputy Mayor Cr Garth Tully received due recognition of their service to the Diamantina Shire community at the recent LGAQ Conference in Cairns. Both Councillors were presented with long service certificates by the President of the LGAQ Cr Margaret de Wit and the Minister for Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience Hon David Crisafulli MP.

The Councillors were joined by their current CEO Leon Love and former Diamantina Shire CEO's Scott Mead (1989 - 2000), John Perry (2000 - 2006) and Scott Mason (2007 - 2013) to celebrate their recognition.
Cr Geoff Norton - Boulia Shire, Cr Garth Tully, Deputy Mayor - Diamantina Shire Council, John Perry - MPG, Phil Berting, CEO - Western Downs RC
Back: Scott Mason, CEO - Central Highlands RC; John Perry - MPG; Leon Love, CEO - Diamantina Shire Council; Scott Mead - MPG. Front: Cr Garth Tully, Deputy Mayor - Diamantina Shire; Cr Geoff Morton, Mayor - Diamantina Shire Council.  

2013 LGMA Western Australia State Conference, Fremantle (30/10 - 01/11/2013);
Scott Mead and John Perry attended the LGMA Western Australia State Conference in Fremantle, WA.

This years theme "Up the Periscope, Scan the Horizon!" is a statement about the industry over the past few years and the years to come. The Conference was about recognising industry changes and preparing for the future, with the main topics dealing with reform, boundary change and amalgamations.

Key Speakers were as follows:

Dr Norman Chorn is a strategy and organisation development practitioner who works in Australia, UK, New Zealand and South Africa. Norman has particular skills in developing future strategy and aligning organisations with their current and future environments.

Paul Murray was the longest serving newspaper editor in Australia when he resigned from The West Australian in February 2000. Paul's extensive media career has given him an insider's view of many of the events that have shaped contemporary Australia.

Jane-Frances Kelly has led strategic policy stocktakes for the Victorian and Queensland Governments, worked in a senior capacity at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and played a central role in organising the 2020 Summit since moving to Australia in 2004.  

Paul Huschilt is a certified speaking professional, and an award-winning professional speaker and storyteller, who has worked in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, France and Japan.

Steve Wells is an internationally recognised psychologist, professional speaker, and peak performance consultant who regularly consults and presents worldwise with business achievers and elite athletes who want to perform at their peak and raise the performance of their teams.

Steve Van Aperen is known throughout Australia as an expert in the field of interviewing and detecting deception. Steve demonstrates how we use language, paralinguistic styles, changes in tenses and body language to decieve others and how to recognise when people are engaging in such behaviours.
John Perry at the MPG Stand
Angelo Nardi from IT Vision, Scott Mead of MPG and Nigel Lutton from IT Vision at the MPG Stand
Blessing of the fleet - Bunbury
Fremantle Coastline
Conference Sports Dinner at the Fremantle Sailing Club

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

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
Local Government Association
Local Government Managers Australia
Local Government Association
Local Government Managers Australia
Western Australia
Local Government Association
Local Government Managers Australia
Northern Territory
Local Government Association


Our Specialist Services

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

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