This is the first post in a year of blogging about local government. Hopefully it will be an informative year full of insights into the politics, management and operations of local government. Most stories will be from local government in Victoria, Australia. But there will be observations drawn from local government across the globe. We believe there are more similarities than differences to be found in the level of government closest and most accountable to the people.
Our views will be coloured by our roles as middle managers. Each day we oversee the development of policy, delivery of strategy and management of operations. Looking upwards we see the activities of our executives and the work they do. Reporting through us are the workers dealing with complexity, uncertainty and customers as they deliver services. We deal directly with the consequences of decisions and actions from both directions.
One thread that will be apparent through all posts is the potential for improvement. At times we may be critical, but when this happens it will be criticism born of hope – the hope that readers will commit to challenging institutionalised thinking, systems and processes so that can be improved. Whether managers like it or not, they get to deal with the consequences of service failure – the customer service escalations, the budget over runs, and the workplace non compliances. If managers are alert, they can learn much from these failures and start to understand the patterns in organisational behaviour.
As much as possible we will track the current issues in the sector. From time to time we will post on ‘old chestnuts’ – the issues that seem to be everlasting, widespread and insoluble. Overall, we aim to make the posts interesting and helpful using the least amount of words!