Workforce Planning for Local Government – 75% similarities vs. 25% difference

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Local Government workforce development
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The workforce planning and development needs and gaps identified across local government are very similar (75%) regardless of location and size.  Specific supply gaps, workforce development strategies and solutions are what vary (25%) with much that can be learnt from councils who are leading workforce planning.

Presented at the National Local Government Workforce Development Forum in April 2012, organised by ACELG and LGMA National,  the ACELG and UTS: CLG report  Workforce Planning and Development, Capability Building Opportunities highlighted,

Promoting flexible and family-friendly work practices as well as other initiatives such as scholarship programs, graduate development programs, apprenticeships and traineeships would also help to position local government as an employer of choice. Many councils are unaware that their work-life balance policies are a real strength and can be marketed during recruitment as a benefit of working in local government that other industries cannot match (Wendy Perry personal communication 2012).

And the importance of workforce analysis,

Senior executives and HR managers need to understand what kind of information is required at what level of detail. This must be accompanied by an ability to understand correlations between data sets to understand the full implications and identify areas of risk and possible gaps. Managers must have the knowledge and skills to access the tools and analysis required to use this data to inform decision making and planning (Wendy Perry, personal communication).

Workforce Planning in Practice

Outcomes from the South Australian Local Government Workforce Planning Project pilot program in 2011 included the design and implementation of workforce development strategies such as:

• Attraction and recruitment strategies that market and position Council as an ‘Employer of Choice’ (especially in regional locations) and make use of the survey data on why people choose to work at Council

• Succession planning for mission critical/hard to fill job roles including Manager/Director/General Manager positions and external Works officers nearing retirement

• Knowledge management for mission critical/hard to fill job roles

• Phased retirement for mission critical/hard to fill job roles

• Cadetships, traineeships and apprenticeships particularly for mission critical/hard to fill job roles

• Buddying, coaching and mentoring particularly for mission critical/hard to fill job roles

• Job role redesign particularly for mission critical/hard to fill job roles

• Reward, recognition and appreciation strategies

• Retention strategies and leadership training for team leaders / coordinators / supervisors to enable them to move up to leadership/management roles as they become available

• Retention strategies and skills development training for younger employees

• Communication and change management initiatives to improve communication channels and workplace culture

• Work life balance initiatives around flexible work arrangements

• Cultural diversity recruitment to reflect community profile

• Training needs analysis (against a competency framework) to facilitate skills matching and enable full utilisation of skills, development of learning and development plans, and identification of future skills needs and career pathways

Following on from the successful pilot, a Workforce Planning Service for Councils is being provided in South Australia by Workforce BluePrint and Workforce Planning Australia with two groups of around 12 councils having commenced the workforce planning process for 2012.

Coaching, mentoring and professional development supports participants developing practice.  Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner from Workforce BluePrint facilitates the Workforce Planning Essentials workshop to provide participants with an understanding of how to identify future skill needs, undertake a gap analysis and develop strategies to ensure Council has the correct mix of essential skills to deliver services to their community.

In New South Wales, workforce planning is a component of the Integrated Reporting and Planning Framework and developing a workforce strategy includes 6 steps supported by useful links and resources.  Running a program titled Workforce Planning – the Journey in Local Government, participants’ feedback has been overwhelmingly positive:

After attending the workshop your understanding of the workshop topic was – 6 out of 5!

Great, practical, relevant – thank you!

I thoroughly enjoyed your session and certainly got a lot out of it.  Your presentation was excellent.

Outlines of the workforce planning project and training needs analysis project were presented at the Human Resources Seminar facilitated by LGA SA.

Training Needs Analysis and Skills Profiles

As an outcome of a Training Needs Analysis workshop earlier this year, a new project has been designed to build skills profiles for master and common local government job roles.  Using Skillsbook, an online skills profiling tool for the initial build of these profiles, representatives from council will work together with LGA SA and Workforce BluePrint.  Once validated the library of job skills profiles will be available to local councils to undertake a training needs analysis supporting the self-insured workplace health and safety requirements.

In South Australia the OHSW Act 1986, states that employers must,

provide such information, instruction, training and supervision as are reasonably necessary to ensure that each employee is safe from injury and risks to health.

For the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 2010,

An employer must, in relation to the implementation of these regulations, ensure that an employee receives suitable and adequate information, instruction and training for any task that he or she may be required to perform at work.

Overall, the organisation must ensure [Performance standards for self-insurers (PSSI)],

Appropriate training requirements have been identified, training plan (s) have been developed and a relevant training program is being implemented.

Interested in practical workforce development and planning services, training needs analysis and the NEW online workforce plan tool?

Please contact Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner, Workforce BluePrint via  Thank you.

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