Councillor pursues plan to scrutinise performance of government agencies, NGOs

Above: Cr Steve Brown at the turnoff (in progress) into the new suburb of Kilgariff. He says council should make sure the development of affordable residential land there becomes a top priority for the NT Government.

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Publicly funded institutions will be getting marks on a monthly basis for what they are doing – or not doing – for Alice Springs, if newly elected Councillor Steve Brown gets his way.
“We’ll be marking them up or down,” he says, “and the results will be made public.”
This evaluation of “key performance indicators” will embrace Federal, state and local government instrumentalities and departments, as well as the myriad of local non-government agencies (NGOs) funded from the public purse, including Aboriginal organisations.
Performance will be judged from the perspective of the town council “because it is the town’s principal elected body” and would be in charge of the initiative.
Cr Brown says he’s been encouraged to work on the proposal by the success of a similar scheme in Port Augusta, and a more limited version of it by the new council, which has started holding meetings with selected departmental heads.
He says an ongoing dialogue between all the players would encourage their cooperation and coordination – absent for 30 years during which “not much constructive has happened”.
The self-employed electrician will be taking a week off work soon to get a handle on how many organisations there are in town, and what exactly they are meant to be doing.
Cr Brown says the focus should go well beyond alcohol abuse and law and order, which have already been discussed “at ridiculous lengths,” to embrace the town’s future growth, housing and strategic planning for the future.
“There is no overall combined strategy,” says Cr Brown.
“No-one seems to know what exactly everyone else is doing.”
He will be creating checklists so public concerns brought to the council can be matched with the appropriate agencies, and their dealings with the issues can be monitored.
A hotline for the public is part of the plan, a one-stop-shop ranging from expectations about the region’s development, to complaints about illegal camping, drinking and humbugging.
The idea is to identify government and NGO “underachievers” and to get them up to speed in a public process.
Cr Brown is seeking feedback about his idea from the public and his fellow councillors but he’s eager to make progress quickly.
“We cannot have endless consultation,” he says.
“If you have an idea talk to your favourite councillor.
“But we need to make a decision and get on with it, and if the public don’t like what we’re doing, they can kick us out.”


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3 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Hal Duell
    Posted May 25, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Before we rush to judgement on this initiative, let’s wait to see what Council come up with. Cr Brown is not working in a vacuum here. Before anything can happen he will need to take his fellow councillors with him, and at least some of that will be debated in the open section of next Monday’s council meeting.
    That’s one debate I won’t be missing.
    The recent attention paid by the NT police and other bodies in Alice have reduced the incidents of public outrage and lawlessness, but we all know that when attention wavers, we will probably be back where we started. Hopefully Cr Brown’s initiative will help prevent that regression.

  2. Melanie Ross
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Perhaps it would be more constructive for councillors to get out there and inform themselves about what is going on, and how they and the council can value add to the wealth of initiatives underway in our community. This sounds like just another avenue for Mr Brown to have a go at anything that doesn’t fit within his views of how our town should work. Bit like being marked by a teacher who never bothers to read your assignments!

  3. Sean
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 10:12 am

    It is excellent to see Cr Brown finding his niche so soon. This initiative is excellent news. As a resident it would be even more pleasing if it is being done with a team spirit involving all the councillors? If any of them aren’t on board, they should genuinely re-think that position. Generally speaking I’m no Brown fan, however his “actions” on this one are positive, and pointed where we all know it’s needed. Credit where it is due. I follow this initiative with keen interest.

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