Edward River Council in the NSW Riverina region is delivering a better a customer experience and working more efficiently behind the scenes thanks to a technology upgrade.
In mid-2022, the Council released Edward River 2050, its Community Strategy Plan for 2022-2050 which identified its main priorities and aspirations for the future, including a goal to use technology to better connect stakeholders and solve community challenges.
The council, established in 2016, is one of the youngest in the country and serves a rural community of 8,454 people, including the town of Deniliquin and the smaller villages of Blighty, Booroorban, Conargo, Mayrung, Pretty Pine and Wanganella.
With a staff of 117 to cover an area of 8,884 km2, efficiency was always a major goal for the Council.
“We’d previously set a goal of delivering excellent customer service and to better do this, we asked the community. Through periodic phone surveys we conducted, we found we were doing reasonably well with a 73% approval rating in 2021, but there was room for improvement,” says Council CEO, Phil Stone.
“For the new plan we raised the bar for ourselves. We wanted to address and action 95 percent of customer service requests within 24 hours. To do that, we needed a tech solution that would support us now and into the future,” he said.
The council, a TechnologyOne customer since 2013 (former Deniliquin Council), chose to add the company’s Request Management module to its existing OneCouncil solution, allowing it to deliver a better experience for stakeholders without Council staff having to learn a new application.
TechnologyOne’s OneCouncil software enables finance, supply chain, human resource planning, asset management, customer experience, payroll, regulatory and revenue in one solution avoiding expensive integration, providing council with a single source of the truth. Council is now able to manage local government’s complex business, effectively and with confidence.
“The beauty of the new solution is that it integrates seamlessly with the rest of the TechnologyOne system we use. We are not adding a new application that we’ll have to learn how to use and manage into the future, it’s all part of the one solution,” Mr Stone said.
With TechnologyOne’s help, the Council has created a new customer service portal that allows anyone, anywhere to lodge a request with any internet connected device at any time and the request is now automatically directed to where it needs to go.
“Previously, each request received, whether on-line, phone or in person at a council office, would have generated multiple emails within the organisation, creating an unnecessary overhead in terms of time, cost and attention.”
“Now, because we have a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, we can automate request workflows and get up-to-date progress on a request in real time without asking someone to stop what they’re doing and write up a report.
“The bottom line is we’re getting things done quicker and more efficiently, which means happier customers, and staff,” Mr Stone said.
Since launching the request module, more than 1,200 requests have been received by Council which allows staff to quickly find answers using key word searches and has improved Council customer experience, with email and SMS notifications provided on the status of their requests.
Council says the new system has also improved management’s overview by consolidating the request into a single system. This means managers are now able to see all completed requests compared to outstanding requests via dashboards, as well as the introduction of mapping tools to show heat maps of requests which assists with identifying larger problems.
“We’ve been working with Australian councils for more than 30 years. In the last ten we’ve helped hundreds make the transition to SaaS, as Edward River has,” said Chief Executive Officer of TechnologyOne, Ed Chung.
“The people in smaller councils, like Edward River, create a strong community, and TechnologyOne is proud to support them in their digital transformation so together they can make their local area safe and welcoming, as well as helping them continue to grow into the future,” he said.