The Australasian LG Performance Excellence Program (previously the Local Government Operational and Management Effectiveness Programme) has been run by SOLGM's sister organisation, Local Government Professionals Australia, NSW with PwC, Sydney in Australia since 2013.

For the past two years SOLGM has provided New Zealand councils with the opportunity to join the program and the 30 councils that took part in the 2016 survey have just received their Reports which cover six key operational areas - Corporate Leadership, Operations Management, Workforce Planning, Finance Management, Risk Management and Asset Management.

Some extremely interesting highlights have come out of the aggregated information including:

> Women made up 58% of the overall NZ workforce compared to 49% in WA and 40% in NSW. Futhermore, in participating NZ councils 28% of Chief Executives were women while only 6% of participating WA councils had female CEs.

> The NZ participating councils have 5.3 FTE staff per 1,000 residents. This is significantly lower than NSW's 9.3 FTE and below WA's FTE of 6.5.

> The NZ councils were more future focused in terms of their talent strategy. 57% are targeting a pipeline of future leaders compared to 45% for both Australian state councils.

> NZ councils have a slightly higher percentage of Gen Y employees with 28% compared to WA (26%) and NSW (22%). However retaining them was an issue with the median turnover rate for Gen Y staff being 30% compared with an overall turnover rate for all staff of 16.9%. The overall turnover rate in NZ is high compared with NSW 10.9% but similar to WA (16.2%).

> NZ councils lead the way in terms of asset management with all participating councils having an asset management system compared to 74% in NSW and 88% in WA. As well, 20% of NZ councils regularly formally report on the state of their assets compared to only 8% in NSW and none in WA.

> There has been an increase from 39% in 2015 to 64% of NZ councils reporting that they are focused on aligning their IT strategy with their business strategy.

> NZ council finance staff are better educated with 59% holding at least a bachelor's degree compared to 37% in NSW and 38% in WA. Perhaps that explains why NZ CFOs were more likely to be part of the senior leadership team (93% compared to 64% in NSW and 71% in WA). As well value-adding business insight activities (as against traditional operational activities) comprise 27% of the finance function in NZ versus 21% in NSW and only 17% in WA.

> NZ councils are much more likely to outsource or share their customer service call centre work. 63% report this compared to 32% in NSW and 37% in WA.

> 77% of the NZ councils had an approved Risk Management policy in place, up from 61% in 2015. All the NZ councils had an established Risk Management Committee as did all WA councils while only 84% of NSW councils had an established committee.

You can find more highlights from the latest survey here. If your council has not taken part in the Program to date you can find more information in our website here. We expect that applications for the 2017 survey will open shortly. Please email if you're interested being advised when it opens.

All our 2017 events that are currently open for registration are listed in our Event Calendar. These include:

The Civic Financial Services Strategic Finance Forum on 27 & 28 March in Auckland. Register for this popular event here.

2017 SOLGM Annual Gala Dinner and The Marketplace on 12 April in Auckland. Find out more about this special event and purchase your dinner ticket here.

Our annual Chief Executives Forum on 12 April in Auckland. Check out the full programme and register here.

An Executive Leaders Masterclass (with the tagline `Getting the job you want`) is also on 12 April in Auckland. Register here.

Webinar: What's the State of Play with Spatial Planning? starting at 10am on 20 April. Priced on a per council basis you can register here.

A one day Community Services & Facilities Event on 28 April in Christchurch. Find out more and register here.

Our annual Professional Administrators Forum (previously our EA & PA Forum) on 11 & 12 May in Auckland. Register here.

The two day Workforce Forum on 8 & 9 June in Wellington. The programme is still to come but you can register already here.