'Re-imagining the Local Government Operation Model' Media Release

POWER TO THE PEOPLE - Is the current operating model for Local Government Authorities truly citizen centred? 

21 August 2018

The Australian Smart Community Association (ASCA) has today released a discussion paper, ‘Reimagining the Local Government Operation Model’. 

The discussion paper explores the limitations of the current 100 year old operating model of Local Government Authorities (LGAs). While the current operating model has been designed with good intentions, the needs of society have surpassed this, and new technology has provided data and tools which provide a more accurate reading of the status of local communities than the current data sources and tools being utlised in LGAs. 

Some of the challenges faced with the current operations model include: 

- a top down approach 

- difficulty for citizens to engage with LGAs and their services 

- difficulty for LGA staff to implement policy and have a positive impact on the community with the current level of red tape (in all areas) 

- procurement processes work against the needs of LGAs to procure innovative technology

At a time when trust in Government is at an all time low, it is critical that LGA’s take the time to re-think where things are heading in their community and how decisions are being made. Our sovereignty has always been offered to us through elections, as engagement through traditional voting channels only decreasing among younger generations, this isn’t enough. 

In this discussion paper ASCA highlights that a truly citizen centric operations model is on the horizon for all Australian LGAs who shift to to distributed Governance model. Today’s giant leaps in analytics, sensors, social engagement, and big data, provide the tools that will drive the future of governance. 

The Association also recommends that LGA’s look outside of technological adoption to renew their operations model. 

We can see a shift to an open and participatory culture through changes to the rules, laws, and structures that make cities run. We need a cultural shift that that takes data from many sources, including new technology such as social media, sensors, as well as residents, and partner organizations. This information must then be organised in a way that enhances the user’s experience. ASCA are advocating that cities should be designed with a user experience in mind. 

For the Association, the discussion paper marks a larger body of work which will explore how Governments can implement these recommendations. The Association has recruited a group of smart community professionals whose mandate is to provide further documentation and guidance for Government Authorities looking to implement new strategies. Additional volunteers from member organisations are being sought.