How Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council has digitally transformed its project risk management

Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council knows its digital transformation is a deep strategic priority.

Transforming and modernising local governments is vital – it’s a promise to their ratepayers that they are getting the best value and services for their money.

And it’s something Cherbourg ASC is grasping with both hands.

Sean and Zala

“We are embracing technology and are trying to bring our businesses into that space as well,” says Economic and Community Development Manager, Sean Nicholson.

“There are several reasons for this, firstly, it is of interest to management to run a business as efficiently as possible, so there is obviously the efficiency analysis.

“Also people are interested in technology, they use it all the time socially now and we want to bring it into the workplace. Instead of banning mobile phones and bringing that antagonism into the work environment, we’ve got employees with phones, we tell them how to use it for work and as long as they’re productive we are happy.”

With the help of SurePact, the Council is driving digital transformation by integrating technologies into all areas of its business, delivering value to customers and their communities.

The main business areas on which Cherbourg ASC is focusing include construction and maintenance of social housing, asset management, recycling and its circular economy.

“Certainly in the building arena we significantly invest in state-of-the-art technology every five years to keep us up to date, for example high-tech design work with disability housing,” Sean says.

“All of our staff are equipped with mobile phones onsite so that when they do a job they can take a photograph and send it back to their manager for approval. In the next couple of weeks, we are integrating this process into SurePact.

“By doing this we can give our partner QBuild the access required so that if we have variation approvals needed by QBuild on a site, for example we go into a bathroom, open up a wall and there is a lot more rot than we anticipated, we can take photos, upload them to SurePact and get approval back almost instantly.

“Digital technology gives us that extra visibility. Lots of what we are doing uses digital technology, which is done on iPads and mobile phones, and so what we really like about SurePact is that it’s all easily accessible on these devices.”

Digitally managing and communicating projects seamlessly

SurePact allows Cherbourg ASC to digitally manage a variety of projects.

“We’ve got a range of our major projects on SurePact. We are using the platform in our business at local government level and we are hoping that the State and Federal Governments will be able to access our SurePact projects in time as we roll it out into our larger projects,” Sean says.

“SurePact allows for the communication, the flow and the progress of these projects to be on hand to all the key people who need that information instantly.

“I also attend the council meeting once a month and within that meeting I can easily demonstrate on SurePact where each project is up to time wise.”

Using SurePact for projects in the Works for Queensland program

An example of the projects that Cherbourg ASC manages through SurePact is Works for Queensland.

“Works for Queensland is a popular state-funded, local government program. We’ve got various projects under that umbrella, including adding a range of pathways around town and fixing up a radio station that wasn’t in good condition. These are all projects on SurePact,” Sean says.

“SurePact enables us to see when the project was initiated, when it was supposed to stop, if the funding is approved, if it is environmentally safe, that workplace health and safety is all in place and that different managers have different approvals so it can progress. We can then access photographs of before and afters, all the grant documentation, sign-offs and Form 16s.”

It’s these projects and others more broadly in Council that have been delivered with minimal risks and complete transparency thanks to SurePact’s Project Risk Management Solution.

“The initial setup of each project in SurePact takes a bit of time, we know that and we accept that as we have to get it right in the beginning. Once all the data is in and everyone who needs access to certain stages is awarded that access, then the project is very, very easy from then on,” Sean says.

“People can see exactly where they are and their part to play, from the accounts department, accounts and corporate services, project, economic and asset management teams and each individual subcontractor and work crew.”
The benefits of innovation and digital transformation

Sean says time savings, accessibility, communication and the responsiveness from the SurePact team have all played a huge part in their successful project deliveries.

“Communication and time-saving are the biggest benefits that we have seen from using SurePact. The accessibility of the platform means decisions can be made very quickly,” he says.

“A current issue when there are variations to projects is the three or four levels of approval – it would have to go through our own internal department, all the information needs to be gathered, put together and signed off so that it can be varied internally and then it has to go externally to be approved. SurePact cuts that process out. The external guys can just access the project, say what’s going on here, how do we solve this and be done. With a couple or even one phone call a decision is made and the project moves forward.

“Accessibility wise, we are government audited every year and we want the government to see the transparency that SurePact allows as it shows the high standard of ethics and the quality risk analysis, WHS accountability, and procurement documentation of what we do. It also keeps all of our project management stuff in one easily accessible place.

“Using communication through SurePact is so important. In the corporate and business world, managers always say, ‘But I wasn’t told, I had no communication, I didn’t know.’ With SurePact there is no manager that has any excuse for a lack of communication.

“We are very happy and we do find that Megan and her team are very responsive. They actively seek improvements and are willing to discuss them, look at them, see if it matches other people’s requirements and if it does, they do it. It all happens in six weeks and you won’t find any other software that does that.”

Additionally Sean expects to see cost savings in the future.

“We are only in the first year of using SurePact, where we are learning everything. Once we’ve got that corporate knowledge then we expect next year to get some good cost savings,” Sean says.

“SurePact is so convenient and every day we are updating projects. As more of our staff become familiar with SurePact it will become further integrated into our systems.”