Local Government is facing a range of workforce development challenges such as:
- Competition for skills.
- Changing demand for services.
- An ageing workforce.
- Skills shortages in key professional areas.
- Staff turnover.
- Satisfying the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) commitments with respect to workforce participation by women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
To continue to operate, Local Government needs to retain and recruit an effective, capable and diverse workforce. The Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) is currently undertaking the following initiatives to support these goals:
- The development of a National Local Government Workforce Strategy.
- The development of a national minimum data set for Local Government.
- White paper on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment in Local Government.
- Research projects on the retention of mature age workers, pathways between VET and Higher Education, e learning and LLN.
- Successful applications for workforce development funding.
In New South Wales (NSW), the requirement for councils to undertake workforce planning is now mandatory through legislation.
In 2009, the NSW Government amended the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) to introduce the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) framework in a bid to foster a strong and sustainable Local Government system.
The IP&R framework is composed of a suite of integrated processes and documents to streamline Local Government planning and reporting. This suite includes:
- A 10 year community strategic plan
- A resourcing strategy (which includes a workforce management plan)
- A 4 year delivery program
- A 1 year operational plan
- An annual report.
The NSW Office of Local Government (OLG) is also carrying out a program to promote diversity in Local Government.
In 2011, the OLG released its report on the findings from the 2010 Census of Local Government employees. This census provides some of the information that councils will need in order to carry out workforce planning.
One common issue is a general need to strengthen councils’ ability to identify, collect, understand and analyse their own relevant workforce planning data.
Workforce management plans are also required to contain Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and diversity strategies. The OLG has been working to strengthen councils’ understanding of these issues and their capacity to integrate them into the way they do business.
LGNSW supports workforce planning and development through the provision of courses, information and networking platforms for human resource and management professionals.
Further information can be obtained from LGNSW Learning Solutions.