On Wednesday, a relatively obscure “Action Item” was reported at the HB Regional Council meeting. It dealt with efforts to fashion a common approach to software systems upgrades among the region’s Councils. At least three of the five Councils are poised to each spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on such upgrades.
Here is the brief report:
“Phase 1 implementation which covers finance and rates systems are being discussed with TLAs. At the present moment it would appear that neither Hastings District nor Napier City Council would be prepared to consider at this stage the finance systems shortlisted by this Council.
Discussions are underway with Wairoa District and Central Hawke’s Bay to provide them with an opportunity to work with this Council in updating their finance systems. This Council would be able to assist in the hosting of finance and rating systems, assist in the implementation of and deliver a value proposition to them.”
In short, a story of both potential — and missed — opportunity to achieve efficiencies and savings that would ultimately benefit ratepayers.
What could possibly be more logical and efficient than each of the area’s five councils jointly procuring, implementing and integrating the same financial software … or, god forbid, installing and sharing the same system?
Today, the Hastings Council will re-consider its planned investment, about $300,000, in “customer relationship” software (as well as a much larger and related investment in building upgrades). What are the chances of this computer software and systems investment being treated as a potential collaborative effort among Councils? I’d say … no chance.
Yet while this kind of day-to-day dysfunctionality persists, Mayor Yule wants us to debate amalgamation. And last week he cowed his fellow elected leaders into a tepid “endorsement” of his debate.
What these leaders should have been discussing instead — obviously their IT staffs weren’t present for the arms-linked singing of Kumbaya — is how to knock heads together in their respective bureaucracies.
But apparently that sort of real work in the trenches is too hard … and inglorious.