IÂ know there will be many of our friends and family who are wondering about my thoughts on the proposed Super City and how it would affect me.
The first thing I need to make clear is that everything expressed in this post are my personal opinions and in no way represent a comment from the Auckland City Council, management or even me in my professional context.Â Also,Â the report has not been accepted by central government, so until then, all we are doing is speculating.
Firstly, a link to the executive summary of the report.Â It’s pretty lengthy, but contains quite a bit of useful information.
I’ve been surprised how few of the details people seem to be aware of.Â For instance I rang my parents the other night and was talking about the report.Â They live in Orewa, so I figured they would have heard about the fact that they would be joining the ex-North Shore City Council in the new Waitemata local council.Â Nope.
So, super city…I think it’s a pretty good idea.Â From a shared services point of view I think it’s nothing short of logical.Â In the IT area there have been a number of opportunities to work across council boundaries and while some have been remarkable successes, others have not got past the starting line.
I also agree that Auckland needs a single point of decision making and planning.Â There have been many examples where good ideas have fallen through the cracks or been delayedÂ due to a lack of agreement and direction between the councils.
In regards to cost savings, this article expresses my thoughts reasonably accurately.Â Basically I’m saying, don’t count your chickens.Â The costs to set up the new council are probably reasonably realistic ($120-$240 million) but the question of cost savings will be very hard to realise.Â The report recommends retaining all staff initially, so given the complexity of the new environment, the actual running cost of the new council for at least the first few years will actually be higher.Â I think it is possible to achieve cost savings in the medium term, but don’t count on your rates bill dropping straight away.
Finally, my personal situation.Â This is where I feel like I’m treading dodgy ground, speculating on what might happen to me when the report hasn’t been accepted and none of the decisions which would impact me have even begun to be discussed, let alone decided.
Let’s just say that my position is not secure in the medium term.Â The councils will all be disbanded and the new council formed with all the employees.Â From an IT perspective, systems will need to be decided upon, and a support structure designed.
If SAP was retained as a system to be used in Auckland Council (and I believe it has a strong case) then my team and likely myself would find a home (we would probably need every SAP resource we could get from other councils plus more).Â However if SAP is not chosen then while I would like to remain in the council, this becomes a more challenging scenario.Â This is the question that many staff members across the councils will be facing.
But all in all, I’m excited about the opportunities the report brings, for Auckland, my team and myself personally.Â There are few opportunities in life to be involved in a change project of this scale and it certainly helps to come into it believing that whatever we are delivering towards, it will make Auckland a better place to work, live and bring up our children.