116 – Are we really that ‘special and different?’ Another answer: ‘Yes, of course’.

Posted by Parkinson                                                                                       450 words


It has been a while since I posted but I couldn’t resist this topic. I appreciate the views put forward by Lancing Farrell and they have merit. But, from my point of view it is obvious why councils are different and should remain different.

Councils need different capabilities to serve their communities. These capabilities have often been developed over time in response to drivers evident to community leaders. For example, provide excellent customer service in delivering basic services to an affluent and demanding community; be able to build new infrastructure quickly and well to meet the needs of a rapidly growing peri-urban council – with limited resources; make sure that ageing facilities are cared for to protect their cultural values in a heritage place.

The leadership of every community will be different. Continue reading

112 – Are we really that ‘special and different?’ An answer: ‘Yes, but’.

Posted by Lancing Farrell                                                                              400 words

peas in pod

This question was posted a week or so ago and readers and writers were asked to respond.  One reader responded (see comments below original post).  Here is my go at a response.

I am not a big fan of ‘yes, but’. In this case it is a useful way to respond to this question.

‘Yes’, of course every community is different – different people, different landscape, different housing. I could go on. These differences are important in determining the exact nature of the role each local government should play and the services they should provide. I wrote about this some time ago. Understanding these differences is critical to getting the public value proposition right and creating the value expected by the community.

I suppose the ‘but’ bit is about how the organisation responds to these differences. Because each community is different, does each organisation serving them need to be different? Continue reading

104 – Question: Are we all really that ‘special and different?’

running shoes

Editors note: This is a new type of post requesting responses from each of the regular writers and any interested readers to answering a question of relevance to the sector? It has been motivated by the realization that ‘through questions, knowledge becomes learning’.

So, the first question is:

Why do you think that councils tend to behave as though they are special and different, rather than choosing to see themselves as being similar or the same?’ 


  • Councils regularly advertise jobs for the same role but with many different titles.
  • Attempts to get councils to share services across municipal boundaries have regularly failed.
  • Efforts to get councils to adopt standard systems (e.g. finance) have been unsuccessful.

Post your answer as a comment.