Sutherland Shire's Delegations

How Council solved its complex delegation management challenges

Sutherland Shire Council is one of Australia’s largest local councils, with over 1600 staff serving a community of 200,000 residents. The Council, in common with other local governments across the country, gains its authority from the State Government legislation. This authority is given to the COUNCIL as a whole.   The Council delegates authority to act on behalf of the Council to the General Manager.   The General Manager then delegates a variety of authorities to staff, allowing them to lawfully carry out various tasks.

In today’s litigious society it is crucial that the delegations handed to the General Manager and then to staff are accurately managed and recorded.  This can be extremely challenging for organisations like the Sutherland Shire Council with over 400 staff who require different levels and types of delegations.  This is by no means a trivial task. It is often made more difficult by people changing roles within their department and new staff commencing.

This problem was brought sharply into focus recently when a large council in the New South Wales region had to remove its entire senior management team, as a result of a failure to properly manage delegated authority. No proper system was in place to monitor and track who had permission to sign off and approve particular building budgets. This resulted in staff, in most cases inadvertently, carrying out activities and making approvals without the correct authorisation.

A routine internal audit at Sutherland Shire Council highlighted the need to strengthen its own processes in this area. They then contacted Seamless to discuss creating an electronic method of managing delegated authority. The Council wanted a system to easily manage and view its users, and all of their assigned delegations.

Trevor Rowling, Manager of Administration and Governance at Sutherland Shire Council, contacted Seamless to discuss the concept. He explains his role as project manager:

“I originally approached Seamless and asked them to develop a delegations management system for Sutherland Shire Council. The process we were using was very manual and as a result very time consuming. The new system needed to manage the whole end-to-end process, and make it easy to setup and track the many delegations we have to deal with. Over 400 staff at the council had delegation responsibilities, many of which continually need to be altered and updated” 

Read Sutherland Shire's delegations story here