As demands on the council increased so did its risk, until
they ensured only approved, updated processes could be
accessed and followed.
The City of Karratha had an interesting few years when their previously quiet part of the world was booming as families flocked to make the most of the mining resources.
With more families paying rates and significant investment in private and public infrastructure projects, the council was flush with activity. But that speed of growth posed some serious challenges to the city’s council, who were anxious to serve its expanding population. To cope with the changes, there was an influx of new staff, many of whom had never worked in the public sector and were unfamiliar with public sector responsibilities. The council was on a steep learning curve too, as they added services that even experienced staff hadn’t yet dealt with.
At the same time, the Western Australian state government was pushing councils to find efficiencies in the way they ran. The City of Karratha’s remoteness and already large land area meant they couldn’t take up an amalgamation efficiency fix – they needed to look internally.
Henry Eaton, the council’s manager of governance and organizational strategy says the answer to both issues came down to improving procedures and documentation across the organization.
As the city’s population boomed, the council hired new staff to support expanding services. Those working on newly-added functions needed to be brought up to speed more quickly.
‘Before Nintex Promapp, staff were relying on each other, existing procedures or drawing on past experience for process knowledge – processes were either incorrect, out of date, inefficient or worse, non-compliant for local government operations.’
Henry points to procurement as an example. When buying goods or services for the city, regulations need to be followed: hierarchy of approvals, and thresholds above which the projects must be put out for tender, for example. Staff relying on incorrect process information, or not following approved procedures, were opening the council up to risks down the track.
Henry says the issues in this area were due to gaps in education and training. This was resolved in part with Nintex Promapp.
Staff across the organization can now tap into up-to-date, centralized process information. That makes it easier for departments to work together collaboratively, sharing information and understanding the various workflow impacts on the business.
If a key person is absent from work, the documented processes make it much easier for someone to step into their shoes. By putting the links, forms, screenshots and guidelines into processes, it adds value to the reader. They have everything at their fingertips to allow them to complete the task at hand.
‘Annual audits of our systems are simpler with Nintex Promapp too. We can now easily prove that there are internal controls established within the processes for staff to follow. Deviations from approved practices can be followed up and we can educate staff on correct procedures.’
Staff engagement is key to successful process systems. Nintex Promapp is working well for the council because of good buy-in from their staff, who take the initiative to contribute to process improvement.
Peter sees that as key: without engagement from staff, the council felt that other systems wouldn’t be used and would date rapidly. Using Nintex Promapp to create easy-to-follow processes, there is less risk that people will make mistakes.
Henry says that just by creating processes within Nintex Promapp, the quality of the processes themselves has improved. There is so much flexibility with Nintex Promapp to add relevant information and important links to websites or working documents.
Nintex Promapp also facilitates co-design of processes, allowing for input from those across the organization. The result is a process that isn’t solely aimed at compliance, but also suits the way people want to work.
Procurement, says Henry, is a good example of this in action. When documenting what was thought to be a simple process, there was a lot of interaction with key stakeholders and an internal steering group. We were able to develop a myriad of smaller supporting processes with one having near on 135 revisions before we were able to finally publish a document that suited our needs. Henry says that means the process is ‘best fit’ for the tasks and the people, and also gets the necessary buy-in.
‘That feedback means the system is going to work for our people – that’s one of the better outcomes we’ve seen from using Nintex Promapp. Traditionally you create a process, and say “that’s the way we’re going to do it”. No-one has any buy-in and others are really not sure how the process is run or its importance to the business. It’s beneficial to get input because it improves everyone’s understanding of how things work and why.’
With around 600 processes already mapped, and more than half of the staff trained in Nintex Promapp, the council is continuing to invest
in the system. The introduction of SharePoint to the business will also raise awareness of existing published processes with staff.
A working group has been tasked with reviewing their scoping document and existing processes to make them even more functional, relevant and user friendly.
Nintex Promapp’s review system helps
with that focus on continued improvement. Notifications pop up every twelve months when reviews are looming – a stark difference to other process maps, which are often ‘filed away, never to be seen again’.
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