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.

Tom Belford

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  1. I am not sure I like the heading: How about head-knockin’?!

    I'd prefer rs kicking, it would probably have more effect in any case as there does not appear too much 'upstairs'.

    If we did get one authority for Hawkes Bay you would have to hope we might get fewer but more able councillors than some of the bunnies we have at present.

  2. Surprise, surprise (not). In our own business we purchased an internationally recognised customer relationship management system capable of handling more clients than there are ratepayers in HB for a fraction of the numbers you have indicated in this article. On top of that we have a smart member system with a host of applications that has been developed locally in HB by smart IT people. Dollars to doughnuts they spend the bulk of this IT outside of HB. Sometimes I despair!

  3. All this talk about amalgamation is moslty" top down bureaucratic ego diven stuff."

    At the last amalgamation attempt for Napier /Hastings,,Cr Bryce Jones HDC, opened his Xmas amalgation present too early,,dropping a clanger,,to suggest "if the Napier /Hastings amlagamation was successful, Hastings would become the administrative centre.!!

    A possible people's innovation," towards any H.B amalgamation

    woulf be to consider the appointment "of one person,for starters)," with people skills,"(.with small secretariat ) to promote the unique character of Napier/Hastings,Havelock Taradale Te Awanga,, and H.B

    . Evaluate any present costly duplication of services,,and gaps in the delevery of exisisting social servcies.

    "Sart small, with a strategic plan" , a plan that is transparent.for all H.B residents .to follow,and to own as a collective model of community development?.Community – Volunteers would soon follow.?

    Thus avoid the present Auckland Super City debacle of arrogant insesitivity to ratepayers, as beueaucracy at its worst .is driving the Auckland Super City Model .

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