INDEPENDENT NEWS

Prestigious Award Recognises Council Innovation

Published: Thu 3 Nov 2005 10:56 AM
2 November 2005
N E W S R E L E A S E
Prestigious National Award Recognises Council’s Innovation
An innovative project that has made it easier for New Plymouth District Council to manage maintenance of its water, wastewater and sewerage systems has won the BearingPoint Innovation Awards 2005.
At the awards ceremony in Wellington last night (1 NOVEMBER) the council won the categories of Innovation in Technology, and Innovation and Management; and came highly commended in the Innovation in Local Government category on its way to winning the Supreme Award for its Real Service Real Time project.
Chief Executive Rodger Kerr-Newell praised the hard work put in by numerous staff to develop a better way to efficiently manage and track service requests from the public.
“Innovations such as Real Service Real Time occur only in organisations that think from the customers’ perspective and commit the time and resources required to develop something that brings tangible and substantial benefits.
“We have some very skilled and experienced staff at the council, and their expertise has led directly to this national recognition at the BearingPoint Innovation Awards,” says Mr Kerr-Newell.
This is the second time the council has won the Supreme Award, having taken the title in 2001 for the development of Taranaki Bioboost 6-3-1.
General Manager Community Assets Anthony Wilson says this latest award shows the council is leading the way in New Zealand when it comes to developing streamlined systems to improve customer service.
“Basically we cleaned up at the awards, either winning or being highly commended in all the categories we were eligible for – and then taking out the supreme award,” he says.
“With Real Service Real Time we’re talking about world-leading technology use. We believe this is the first fully-integrated online system of its kind to be developed and implemented by a New Zealand local authority, and it’s something that can be used in other authorities in the country.
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“Real Service Real Time means that local residents can know the very latest information on any maintenance job, and the council has a clear picture on what work has been done on what systems. We can track the entire process from receiving the service request through to job completion and developing long-term management plans,” he says.
Real Service Real Time uses various online technologies to report any requests from the public for repairs to a water, sewer or stormwater system, and direct contractors to the repair site. The contractors use PDAs to report their progress back to the council, which enables council staff to provide up-to-date information on the progress of any job to customers.
The council can also track the maintenance history of any service, which improves its planning for asset management, and assess contractor performance against agreed standards.
The BearingPoint Innovation Award is the second major award for Real Service Real Time, with the NZ Society of Local Government Managers giving NPDC the New Zealand Post Management Excellence Award for technology innovation last year.
These annual awards are jointly sponsored by BearingPoint and the Institute of Public Administration New Zealand (IPANZ). They aim to recognise and promote world-class innovation in services to the public, services to Maori, the use of technology and management in the public sector.
IPANZ’s objective is to encourage and help grow the number of public sector organisations implementing new and successful programmes, policies, or projects that will help to improve operational excellence and competence within government agencies.
ENDS

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