City of Stirling spending $5.5 million to increase efficiency

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE City of Stirling is spending more than $5.5 million on an IT system upgrade despite councillors questioning whether it was value for money.

The City is implementing a cloud-based relationship management system that aims to improve customer service and offer benefits including the ability for field officers and customers to report issues on-site and track requests.

Council voted in May to accept Deloitte’s tender to deliver the system using Salesforce software.

It has completed the first two stages at a cost of $424,000 and the next two stages, until December 2022, are expected to cost $5.1 million.

A City report presented at the December 4 council meeting said the system would “drastically improve” service levels to councillors, the community and customers, and “result in a significant improvement in efficiency across the entire organisation making the City more financially sustainable into the future”.

From June 2019, it is expected ratepayers will be able to make maintenance requests, cat and dog complaints, councillor inquiries and report abandoned vehicles online.

Cr David Lagan was concerned about the costs and said efficiency was also about service delivery in keeping with the economy.

He said the City’s fulltime staffing levels had not substantially changed in the past four years and while he did not advocate for people to lose their jobs, believed it could create savings through reducing staff.

“We’re spending to get savings,” he said.

But Cr Suzanne Migdale believed it would increase efficiency “without question”.

“We will reap the rewards of hat this system promises to deliver,” she said.

“But it will take time.”

Cr Karen Caddy agreed, saying it would be unrealistic to expect short-term gains.

Chief executive Stuart Jardine said the City would provide updates on efficiency improvements.

Council voted to proceed, with Cr Elizabeth Re against the motion.