What is your Professional Background?
After working as an IT Consultant for ten years I took up a position as the Manager Information Communication Technology at The Barossa Council in 2008.
What Council are you working at, and how long have you been there?
The Barossa Council for 3 years.
Why did you decide to work for a country council?
The Barossa has the best of both worlds; whilst it is located in a beautiful regional location it is still close enough to have easy access to the city. From an IT perspective regional councils present a range of challenges not always found in metro locations. For example in the Barossa we have Library and Council services spread across five locations – along with a Visitor Information Centre and a Regional Gallery, all of which are located up to 70kms from the main ICT centre.
What are the key differences between a country council and metro?
On a community level, regional Councils have a more familiar customer base. Often in metro areas residents use the services of a range of Councils throughout
Adelaide– potentially working in one municipality but living in another and possibly using the services of another on weekends or in their social time. In regional areas the residents tend to use the same locations and services repeatedly, providing us with an opportunity to form stronger networks and relationships with the community.
What do you like most about your role?
As an IT professional, local government is fantastic. There are always new challenges to overcome and opportunities to look at a range of different models to suit various council services. With such a diverse range of industries all housed in the same building you have an opportunity to try different things that help make Council Services run smoothly – Engineers, Customer Service Officers, Librarians, Planners, Accountants they all have different needs when it comes to IT.
How would you describe working for a country council as a career development step?
I haven’t really thought about that in my current role. Because we are so close to
Adelaideit doesn’t seem to make a huge amount of difference. I guess there are different demands in regional locations in relation to IT with distance and remoteness an issue for some of our branches – and that provides you with a different management perspective.
What other involvement do you have in Local Government?
At the moment I am currently participating in the LGMA Emerging Leaders Program, which I am really enjoying – it is a great opportunity to get a broader perspective of Local Government as well as network and establish relationships. I also am an actively involved with both the Local Government IT as well as Record Management groups. I also consult with a range of other Councils through the Libraries network – particularly with their specialist IT needs. The Barossa Council is part of the LINK Network which is a consortium of five local governments who developed a system for their libraries to work together, sharing resources and information.
Why are you a member of the LGMA SA?
Organisations like the LGMA are great because they provide you with a range of opportunities in relation to networking, training and the dissemination of information. There are lots of managers out there working in Local Government – the LGMA is a conduit which ensures you can stay informed and hear more about what other Councils are up to – the challenges and the solutions!