Next Tuesday's Council meeting will see Councillors presented with the Eurobodalla Council's Annual report to accept. Council has been granted an extension to complete the annual Financial Statements due to key staff turnover and the implementation of a new finance software system. Council advises that the figures contained in the Annual Report 2017-18 are based on unaudited financial information and maybe subject to change as the Financial Statements are finalised. The Annual Report 2017-18 presented to Council, with exception of the audited financial statements, complies with the Local Government Act 1993 and the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005. Of interest in the Annual report (other than the remarkable 6.1% ""captains call" increase in the General Managers salary) is the revelation that there has been a substantial blowout in Information Technology going from a budget of $2,5m to a gobsmacking $4,7m - source p37 Seven days ago the Beagle sent Council a Media request as an insider had advised us that Council was not going to be delivering its annual financial report and had sought an extension of time. The Beagle wrote: I'm led to understand that Council has received dispensation from the OLG providing an extension for its delivery of the Annual General Report that is normally due by November 30th. According to OLG Circular No 18-28 / 26 September 2018 / A567705 ( http://www.olg.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/18-28.pdf ) - Under the Act, councils must prepare an annual report within five months after the end of the year.- The council must upload a copy of the annual report to its website and provide a copy to the Minister for Local Government (the Minister) and such other persons and bodies as regulations apply. Can Council advise if the Annual report will be delivered by November 30th and, if not, advise if they do have dispensation from the OLG for an extension and what reasons were given seeking that extension. Whilst it is known that Council had major staffing issues in the lead up to the end of financial year and that the timing of the transitioning from Navision to a new Technology One platform was "challenging" this should only see one component of the Annual Report delayed rather than the other components that are not affected.
Above: nothing to see here folks .. just a $2.2m blowout we haven't explained
Whilst on Technology One software: I also understand that Council may have had difficulties in transitioning its other systems (assets, GIS, planning etc) to the new Technology One software platform resulting in a budget overrun that has also impacted internal staffing resources. A search of Council's website for the keyword Technology reveals nothing at all of this multi million dollar project as you might expect to find, and as is the example in all other large Council projects. Can Council advise what the status of this project is and direct me to an overview or briefing statement that would have been given to Councillors at the outset when approval to purchase the system was first given. How much was allocated in the budget? What was the expected timeline of the project to satisfactory transition? Has that transition now been finalised? Was/Is there a need to find additional funds to complete the transition? Will there be a final report in regards to the project? If so, when might that be forthcoming? I also understand that Council has a stand alone O,H,S and R system that is not integrated with Technology One and that it was decided to go to a stand alone system which was recently tendered out. Does Council consider taking other elements, first intended for Technology One out to other stand alone systems as well? UPDATE: Received at 3:30pm November 2108 from a Council spokesperson: Q: Can Council advise if the Annual report will be delivered by November 30th and, if not, advise if they do have dispensation from the OLG for an extension and what reasons were given seeking that extension. Response: Council has received an extension for the lodgement of its 2017-18 financial statements from the Office of Local Government due to the movement of a number of critical accounting staff and unanticipated issues with Council’s new software system. Council’s Annual Report will be presented to Council on Tuesday 27 November without these financial statements, in accordance with the extension. The financial statements will however will be referred to audit at that meeting. TechnologyOne. Q: How much was allocated in the budget? Response: $6.249 million was allocated in the budget, which included the cost of TechnologyOne software and implementation services as well as the cost of Council effort to deliver the project. Q: What was the expected timeline of the project to satisfactory transition? Response: The TechnologyOne implementation project comprises three phases, running concurrently addressing different aspects of Council’s systems. Phase 1 of the project went live in October 2017. Phase 2 and Phase 3 are in progress and scheduled for completion before the end of 2019. Q: Has that transition now been finalised? Response: The TechnologyOne implementation project is on schedule – see above. Q: Was/Is there a need to find additional funds to complete the transition? Response: Yes, there will be a need to utilise previously identified contingency funding to complete the original scope of the project. Q: Will there be a final report in regards to the project? If so, when might that be forthcoming? Response: Council’s Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee monitors the progress and risk associated with the project. A post implementation report will be prepared and provided to that committee following the conclusion of the project. Q: I also understand that Council has a stand alone O,H,S and R system that is not integrated with Technology One and that it was decided to go to a stand alone system which was recently tendered out. Does Council consider taking other elements, first intended for Technology One out to other stand alone systems as well? Response: The TechnologyOne tender indicated that the TechnologyOne system did not provide full Health, Safety and Environment solutions. There was no expectation in the selection of the TechnologyOne system that it would provide full Health, Safety and Environment functionality. Council is following the principle that if a function can be supported adequately by TechnologyOne it will be implemented within TechnologyOne. Council does not intend to take elements intended for TechnologyOne to other standalone systems. Additionally council advised : In regards to information about Technology One on our website, the corporate business system selection went to Council on Tuesday 28 June.You’ll find the agenda here (page 107) and the minutes here (page 32). You’ll find information on the contract with Technology One here. ************************************************ Council, in their annual report have however identified the reasons behind the need for an extension to provide that annual financials. Fair enough. They lost key personnel and then had to reinstate finance staff from other divisions to take over. But what of the $2.2m overspend on the Information Technology line item without any explanation at all. With such an overspend it is inevitable that this will have to be covered from somewhere, giving us the opportunity to follow the money if Council are open and transparent about it. One option available to them however is to keep it under the radar by Council pursuing another loan (if they haven't already done so) to cover the blowout so that they could bury the additional funding in an intergenerational loan, possibly with TCORP and simply state that it is an operational loan and was commercial in confidence. It is however understood that the spending is not over yet and the resourcing for the transition has placed considerable strain on staff resulting in a measurable downturn in timely delivery of key council services.