At the start of each term, councils across NSW consult with the community to create a 10+ year ‘Community Strategic Plan’ (CSP) which frames and guides all decisions made at council.
I’ve had a look through Ku-ring-gai’s two most recent CSP’s and while they are above average compared to our peers in Northern Sydney, there’s still a lot that can be done to make it a more meaningful, effective and inclusive document.
Some of the early stage improvements include:
- Considering whether we are focussing on the right objectives. Are some priorities not high enough (or absent) while others over-emphasised?
- Incorporating a more inclusive community consultation process (similar to Willoughby) and ensuring that the objectives that we settle on represent the diverse needs of residents across the LGA.
- Encouraging more active engagement and representation by the full governing body (similar to Hornsby) rather than just the Mayor.
- Including a more direct link between specific objectives and the actions required to achieve this (Lane Cove does this, but there are even better ways of communicating it on a page).
- Directly tying metrics, performance targets, actions and ownership to each objective (similar to the long-term strategic plans that I see in the corporate world).
- Stating how the community can be involved in producing a better outcome (similar to Hornsby).
It’s going to be a quiet month and while we aren’t yet technically councillors until 11th Jan, I’ll be brainstorming more suggestions to make the CSP process better this time around. I would love to be in a position in June 2022 to say that out of all the 128 councils in NSW, Ku-ring-gai’s CSP is the best, and if we can get there then I think it’s something that Ku-ring-gai’s residents and council staff should be proud of.
After the CSP is finalised, the challenge is to then stick to the plan, monitor performance, and tweak the course if circumstances change.