Winning Willoughby faces the facts that will improve city management


From left: Stuart Shinfield, Partner, PwC, Judy Muir, Business Improvement Specialist, Willoughby City Council, Mustafa Ghulam, Head of Business Improvement, Willoughby City Council and Annalisa Haskell, Chief Executive Officer, Local Government Professionals Australia, NSW.

Willoughby City Council has been presented with a prestigious local government award for its willingness to dive deeply into management and service delivery performance to sort the good from the bad and change what’s wrong.
The metropolitan council’s award for Excellence in Operational and Management Effectiveness was one of the highest honours at the 2017 LG Awards Dinner held on Thursday, April 6 recognising not only the council’s commitment to self-improvement as part of the Australasian LG Performance Excellence Program, but also its desire to work  with other councils in Australia and into New Zealand to get the best results.
Willoughby City Council General Manager Debra Just said she was thrilled to accept the award in recognition of the Council’s long-running commitment to the program and the way they have successfully implemented change as a result.
“Our council has been involved with the Australasian LG Performance Excellence Program since its development four years ago as a way to benchmark the entire local government sector,” Ms Just said.
“It is never easy to lay yourself bare and face some hard facts but now are one of 135 councils in NSW, WA and New Zealand are all doing just that.”
“We need to be in charge of our own success and for that to happen we need to understand where we are and where we wish to get to and move forward together as a sector.”
LG Professionals, NSW CEO Annalisa Haskell says Willoughby City Council has been outstanding in its commitment to this self-analysis, self-improvement program and in the past year they have demonstrated incredible commitment to using this tool fully – despite being potentially earmarked for amalgamations.
"The heroes of this program are the council leaders involved, like Debra Just. This is truly a great sector initiative, no-one compelled them to do this," Ms Haskell said.
"Elsewhere in government, as well as in the commercial sector, this type of detailed study usually only happens when someone has been given a directive."
Ms Just says the program says it is exciting to be part of a performance measurement program that has councils working on something together but doesn’t rank or rate them nor put them in a box.
“Already we are seeing results, the comparative analysis report just released from 2016 has unearthed areas for opportunity and focus for our management team and we are keen to track our improvements using this tool”.
Ms Just said this would not be possible without the drive of business improvement staff and the adoption of new practices by staff who deliver the results for the community.

About LG Professionals Australia, NSW
Local Government Professionals Australia, NSW is the leading association representing all professionals in NSW local government and is part of a national federation of associations. The organisation is committed to maintaining high professional and ethical standards and ensuring that its members are at the forefront of leadership, change and innovation.