Council starts final round of consultation on restructure

Date published: 26 April 2017

Townsville City Council has begun final consultation with staff on the most significant organisational restructure since the workforces of the city’s two former councils merged in 2008.

The restructure is fundamental to 24 reforms recommended in the independent Nous Group Review adopted by the council in September last year to drive efficiencies, financial sustainability and more responsive services to the community.

Council has already completed a restructure of management which has achieved savings of around $4 million annually.

The proposed restructure provides overdue organisational changes to support a leaner council which is more in line with industry benchmarks and better geared for delivering front line services.

The revised structure provides a framework where planning, support and actual delivery roles of council’s operations have been better aligned to break down silos and duplication, and finally right size the workforce.

A Future Cities Office will also be established, bringing together strategic staff from various areas of the organisation to set a compelling economic and cohesive community direction for the city.

Council CEO Adele Young said the revised structure followed an extended consultation period with staff and unions.

“I have allowed more time to consider 522 submissions from staff, and to work with managers and directors to ensure we make the most of this opportunity to get our new structure right,” Ms Young said.

“As I said at the outset, the initial draft was by no means final and would change as the process of review and feedback continued.

“While the proposals will be open to feedback from staff and unions during a further two weeks of consultation, I don’t anticipate any significant changes to what I’m proposing at this point.”

“Throughout this process we are ensuring that our community’s front line staff and services are the number one priority and are not impacted.

“The restructure allows the council to tackle unsustainable labour costs, cut red tape and duplication, and focus on the delivery of more efficient services to the community.

“Establishing a financially sustainable council organisation will also put downward pressure on rates.”

For the majority of staff there will be little change, with potentially different job titles and reporting lines.

The draft structure proposes the following changes:

* converting 80 maximum term temporary roles to permanent positions providing greater job security for staff
* 87 new permanent positions
* 283 likely redundant positions, of which 155 are occupied.

Redundancies are proposed through a reduction in back office and support functions, realigning planning and delivery of services, and removing duplication of roles and accountabilities
* Not renewing 193 temporary positions. Employees will either be eligible to participate in the merit based selection process for permanent jobs, or their terms will expire in due course.
* Staff in redundant positions will be matched with the 245 existing vacancies in the organisation, redeployed and retrained.
* Voluntary redundancies will be offered in identified areas where there are more permanent incumbent staff than available positions.
* Involuntary redundancies are a last resort.

Documents detailing the proposed organisation have been made available to staff and unions.

The consultation phase will continue until May 10. Feedback will be considered before any decisions are made by the CEO in finalising the structure.