A $1 million commitment from the 2017-2018 Victorian State Budget provided for the establishment of the Rural and Regional Councils Sustainability Reform Program. The Program aimed to identify the barriers and challenges, and to propose options to provide long-term financial and operational sustainability for rural and regional councils.
KPMG was commissioned to undertake a body of work, which was completed under the guidance of a Steering Committee comprising representation from Rural Councils Victoria, Regional Cities Victoria, Municipal Association of Victoria, Local Government Professionals, Victorian Local Governance Association, Department of Treasury and Finance, Department of Premier and Cabinet and Regional Development Victoria.
Read the report and appendices below:
Following this report, the Victorian Government committed $20 million in the 2018-19 Victorian State Budget to the 'Rural Councils Transformation Program'. The program aims to improve rural and regional councils' financial sustainability by:
- achieving economies of scale through regional service delivery or collaborative procurement
- promoting more efficient and improved service delivery through collaboration and innovation
- facilitating benefits for rural and regional communities, prioritising rural communities, and
- demonstrating potential efficiencies to be gained through regional service delivery.
Over two rounds of funding, RCTP has sought to help 31 rural and regional councils meet their financial and operational challenges through incentivising the implementation of regional service delivery and shared services. This has included joined-up service delivery of corporate services, procurement and asset management. The adoption of regional service delivery models can help to achieve greater service benefits for rural communities through increased collaboration across councils and the delivery of greater efficiencies.
Supporting councils to adapt to new ways of operating is a shared effort with the sector, and is key to increasing the long-term sustainability of rural and regional councils.
Round 1 Funding
In June 2019, funding was awarded to four projects involving 19 rural and regional councils. Two projects amounting to $9.5 million, and led by Corangamite Shire Council and Horsham Rural City Council, have progressed to the implementation phase.
Due to bushfires, the COVID-19 pandemic and competing internal priorities, two projects that had been awarded a total amount of $9 million were unable to continue development. The two projects were led by Ballarat City Council and East Gippsland Shire Council. $8.53 million of the funding allocated to these two projects has been returned to the Department, and has since been repurposed for a second round of funding under the Rural Councils Transformation Program.
Rural Councils Corporate Collaboration
Funding of $5 million to deliver 6 shared service solutions across councils, building a platform for additional shared services.
South West Councils ICT Alliance
Funding of $4.5 million to deliver 11 shared services across councils by implementing a fully integrated ERP solution.
Central Highlands Councils Transformation Project [discontinued]
Funding of $4.5 million to deliver 14 shared services leveraging Ballarat City Council’s existing development of Microsoft Dynamics.
Gippsland Shared Services Program [discontinued]
Funding of $4.5 million to deliver two shared services by implementing a fully integrated ERP solution across councils, building a platform for additional shared services.
Round 2 Funding
In May 2022, $6.93 million was awarded to 10 projects involving 25 councils. Funded projects involve two to four rural councils and must be completed within two years. The 10 projects are led by Central Goldfields, Gannawarra, Golden Plains, Indigo, Mansfield, Mt Alexander, Northern Grampians, Southern Grampians, Wellington and Yarriambiack Shire Councils.
Projects were awarded funding for new technology platforms and solutions, aimed at freeing up council resources to focus on important frontline services. Projects involve a minimum of two rural councils and must be completed by 30 June 2024.
Southern Grampians Shire Council (lead)
Funding of $680,000 to collaboratively implement new records management technology.
Yarriambiack Shire Council (lead)
Funding of $750,000 to collaboratively implement new records management technology, new emergency management technology, new building and planning technology, new asset management technology and new data analytics technology.
Wellington Shire Council (lead)
Funding of $500,000 to collaboratively implement new records management technology.
Mansfield Shire Council (lead)
Funding of $1,000,000 to collaboratively implement new records management technology, new financial management technology, new customer relationship technology and new property and rating technology.
Indigo Shire Council (lead)
Funding of $750,000 to collaboratively implement new building and planning technology.
Golden Plains Shire Council (lead)
|Funding of $750,000 to collaboratively implement new asset management technology.|
Mt Alexander Shire Council (lead)
Funding of $500,000 to collaboratively implement new asset management technology.
Northern Grampians Shire Council (lead)
Funding of $750,000 to collaboratively implement new financial management technology, new procurement technology, new property and revenue technology, new regulatory functions technology, new payroll / human resources technology, new customer relationship management technology, new contract management technology, new animal management technology and new infringements management technology.
Central Goldfields Shire Council (lead)
Funding of $500,000 to collaboratively implement new financial management technology, new customer relationship management technology and new rates and property technology.
Gannawarra Shire Council (lead)
Funding of $750,000 to collaboratively implement new asset management technology.
RCTP2 IT Implementation Strategy and Rural Councils IT Strategic Implementation Framework for Shared Services
In September 2022, Local Government Victoria engaged Deloitte to lead on developing guidance on IT implementation and a reference IT architecture for shared services.
Co-developed with the 25 councils receiving RCTP Round 2 funding, the RCTP2 IT Implementation Strategy for Shared Services is guidance primarily to these 25 councils on implementing technology shared services solutions. Released in December 2022, the RITI Strategy is presented as a common framework for selecting and implementing technology that supports shared services, and includes is a reference architecture and case studies.
The RITI Strategy is intended to serve as a source of inspiration towards better and more consistent practice. Councils can continue to use their discretion about when it is appropriate to apply this Strategy and when to adopt a different but more relevant and appropriate approach for their circumstances and operating environment.
From February 2023, Deloitte commenced work to expand this guidance to benefit all Victorian rural councils. This IT Strategic Implementation Framework for Shared Services is being developed with all 48 rural and regional councils to extend and improve the guidance in the RITI Strategy. This provides further support for councils’ shared service ambitions, and strengthens the strategic view of how to accelerate the adoption of shared services. This Framework guidance will be developed as a foundation piece for future expansion of shared service guidance and support to all Victorian councils.
For more information, contact:
Senior Manager Rural Council Projects