Saturday, December 29, 2012

I see that todays edition of The Munster Express has published details of the working document on Customer Service Locations and Workforce Planning for the proposed merged Waterford City & County Councils. As it is obviously in the public domain already I have decided to publish the document here so that the public may see it in full if they wish. This version is missing two illustrations that I couldn't import but that doesn't change how you will understand the document.

For what it's worth, and I know this document is supject to change, I nonetheless consider that it is illustrative of the implementation committee's thinking - whereby, what we will be left with, post amalgamation, is two, weakened, split authorities rather than the one single, stronger authority that we were told would give Waterford the mass it requires. In my opinion the splitting of services is a joke. It is in-efficient, underlines geographic defferences, is bad management, is expensive and quite frankly, will eviscerate the guts out of the city.

No longer will the cities Fine Gael and Labour Councillors (with one notable exception) be able to say that this will be a positive thing for the city. Although with their spectacular volte face already performed, God knows that they will probably try and spin even this, as a positive! A so-called Gateway City without a Planning Department? If that isn't a joke I don't know what is. We would be the laughing stock! Imagine Galway City being planned from Clifden - or Dublin, from Bray. Those cities would not accpet it and neither should we. We shouldn't have to, but it seems we must continue to fight - now more than ever - merely to keep our city, it's jobs and its services, intact.

Ironically, what we are now getting with a split authority, is the worst of all worlds - with the much flaunted 'private sector' efficiencies being sacrificed on the altar of political parish-pumpery once again. Plus ca change. Well done, Mr Hogan. You have managed to bring us over the next few years to the level of the County Town, when we are currently the level of a County Council. I wonder will Kilkennys administration be split between the 'City' and say, Callan? You can bet your bottom dollar it will not be. Because they aren't so foolish. Ah, for people who would not play the Ministers' vile and damaging game. Alas for Waterford.

For what its worth here is the Working Paper:


Working Paper on Customer Service Locations

and Workforce Planning

The attached document represents a preliminary view of the Waterford Local Government Committee regarding the location of services and workforce planning. It has been prepared for the purposes of initial consultation with staff and political representatives and for further detailed analysis by the Joint Management Teams and senior staff of both Councils.

It has to be emphasised that proposals in the document are consequent on very significant assumptions that may be valid or not and consequently significant change may occur through the process. The issues will revert to the Implementation Committee in early February for consideration following detailed analysis and consultation.

A. Issues That Have a Bearing on Customer Service Location and/or Workforce Planning

1. Customer Service - Population Distribution

There are nearly 70,000 people living within 10 miles of Waterford City and the remainder of the County having relatively low population density with the exception of Dungarvan and its immediate environs. The population distribution needs to be taken into account when considering the delivery of services and the formation of Municipal Districts.

It is inevitable that there will be significant additional demands for services in Waterford City arising from those living in the East Waterford area. The single objective of the amalgamation has to be to ensure that customer standards are at the minimum sustained and where possible improved in the new entity.

2. Political Structure

The Report of the Waterford Local Government Committee saw merit in dividing into three sub county areas, namely, eastern part of county, central zone and west county. The Local Electoral Boundary Committee will define these boundaries and submissions will be made by either the individual Local Authorities and/or the Implementation Committee.

Other configurations may be considered by the Boundary Commission.

Appendix 6 of “Putting People First” outlines reserved functions that could be transferred to Municipal Districts and the extent of these functions will have a bearing on staff servicing demands.

The status of the Mayoralty of the Metropolitan Area, the role of the Leader or Chair of the Council and the functions assigned to the Municipal Districts are all issues that will impinge on workforce planning. They are, however, along with other issues, matters that will be provided for in impending legislation and are not within the remit of the Committee.

3. Specific Provision for Economic Development in Putting People First

It is the intent that a Director for Economic Development be appointed for the City and County in early 2013. This would facilitate the preparation of an Economic Development Strategy for the City and County with a particular emphasis on the Gateway. It is important that the current workload of any Director appointed is adequately dealt with. Equally the Office will ultimately require specific personnel resources as well as inheriting responsibility for the newly formed Local Enterprise Offices.

4. National Framework for Workforce Planning

A National Framework for Workforce Planning has been undertaken for the local government sector outlining typical numbers for authorities of different scale. It will be necessary to have regard to this framework when determining the future staff structure. With respect to the Management Team for example, it is envisaged that there will be 5 Directors of Service (including the Director for Economic Development) and one Head of Finance.

5. Existing Staff Distribution

The existing staff distribution has a bearing on the overall workforce planning exercise and it is an objective of the committee to generate the least possible disturbance in terms of location base of staff subject to:

• the overall goals of a fit for purpose organisation being achieved and

• necessary efficiencies being achieved through reduction of staff numbers.

6. Surplus Staff/Identification of Work Streams

It will be necessary to achieve efficiencies through a reduction in staff numbers. It is intended to commence following the local elections in 2014 with a fit for purpose organisation and consequently a surplus of staff will have to be declared under the Croke Park Agreement. Redeployment is and will be an option under the agreement but it is envisaged that the majority of the reduction in numbers will be achieved through natural wastage with some potential for voluntary redundancy (dependent on the scheme to be adopted nationally).

Accordingly it will be necessary to identify work streams for staff outside of the core future complement at the point of amalgamation and the following are the areas to be considered:

• Project work through national shared services

• Transition office for Irish Water

• Amalgamation workload (records, procedures etc) that can be deferred until post implementation

• Specific projects on economic development

• Specific projects for embedment of Health and Safety

7. Issues of Difference Between Workforces

There are differences of policy and approach between the City and County with respect to flexi time arrangements, clocking in and working hours that will have to be resolved as part of the process. Equally there are long-term acting positions that cannot be continued in the new entity and that will have to be resolved.

B. Location of Departments – Core Issues

The Local Government Committee report has previously recommended the retention of offices in both Waterford City and Dungarvan “as at present” while allowing for consolidation of services. In essence there are a number of scenarios that could be looked at for the new organisational model and these can be reflected as follows:

1. Structure on the Basis of Main Offices for Functional Areas being spread between Dungarvan and Waterford.

This would envisage primary offices for different functional areas being split between Dungarvan and Waterford with the criteria for deciding the locations being primarily based on customer demand and the level of workload currently generated at each location.

2. Structure in Line with Metropolitan and Municipal Areas.

In essence this would envisage services being delivered in Waterford City to the new metropolitan area with services being delivered in Dungarvan to the two other municipal areas. This would be unlikely to achieve the same efficiency and would possibly copper-fasten further geographic divides within the organisation.

3. Structure on the basis of the main services being provided from Waterford City with sub office services based in Dungarvan and the majority of back office services sustained there as well.

This option would cater for the predominance of customer service demands arising in the East of the County while sustaining geographically based services for everybody. There would be issues with perception of downgrading of the county town.

On balance and based on the language of the previous Local Government report it is recommended that scenario 1 be the option chosen.

C. Issues Prevailing Around The Location of Individual Services

Core Services


The extent of road network in the County is dominant from a roads perspective both in budgetary and administrative terms. There will be a need to sustain a significant department in the City for traffic, urban related and front desk services. Customer contact with respect to parking is greater for the City.

Water Services

The extent of supplies, networks, treatment systems (including water treatment for City) and sources in the County is dominant. A resource will need to be maintained in the City to provide for maintenance supervision and front desk services.


The issues in respect of planning are not as clear:

• Numerically planning applications are greater from outside Metropolitan Area on a ratio of 60/40.

• The level of engagement with large City files, however, would be far greater.

• It would be accepted that paper files for public viewing can only be sustained as a whole at one location and that core administrative functions need to be sustained at this location.

There would appear to be only two options:

1. Locate main office in City and use assisted digital services for viewing files in Dungarvan or

2. Locate main office in Dungarvan and ensure the main City files are available for viewing in the City.

Ideally validation of files, acceptance and receipting could be done in both locations. On balance it is felt that as a stand alone choice locating the main public office in Dungarvan is the most viable at face value. In this instance large planning files would have to be available in the City for inspection along with a significant digital service. With respect to professional services, development management will have to be provided from both locations while forward planning can be based in either but should probably be located with Economic Development in the City.


The Environment section in the future will be solely regulatory and planning in function and as such can reside in either location. The extent of county natural amenities would suggest siting in the County as most suitable with enforcement officers sustained in both locations.

Economic Development

It is envisaged that a Director of Services with sole responsibility for economic development will be appointed. As the Gateway function will be a primary focus it is envisaged that this office will be based in the City and that it would include the Tourism function.


Can reside in either location. Front office services will have to be maintained in both locations with greater demand envisaged from the higher population areas in Waterford City. A key challenge in the longer term will be to transition services to online while debt collection currently represents (and will do so in the future) one of the greatest corporate challenges. The extent of local revenue raised in the City and immediate environs will have to reflected in the service provision.

Cleansing, Parks and Open Spaces and Amenities

These services are primarily City based and need to be located and headquartered in the City.

Housing and Community

The extent of social housing in Waterford City and the social issues pertaining suggest that the main base for this service will have to reside in the City.


The library headquarters could possibly be located in either Lismore or Waterford. The user profile, staff situation (Co. Librarian acting only) and book storage capacity suggest the City as the primary site.

Emergency Services

Waterford City has a full-time Fire Brigade serving part of South Kilkenny and East Waterford, while the County has retained services at various locations in the County. On balance it is agreed that the demands of the full-time service and the greater fire risk in the City would see the headquarters in the City.

Human Resources

This is primarily a back office function and could be located in either Waterford or Dungarvan.

Motor Tax

Services will need to be provided at both locations and with the greater numbers likely to use the City service it is envisaged that the Headquarters should reside here.

Corporate/ Management

It is viewed that the Corporate headquarters should reside with the political headquarters in Waterford City. It is envisaged that the Manager will be headquartered in the City while the main offices for the 5 Director of Services and the Head of Finance will be split between the two locations. It is equally envisaged that the Manager and some or all Directors will have to maintain a presence at both locations, particularly in the early days post amalgamation.


As a back office function this can be located in either location but provisionally Dungarvan is considered the preferred option.

Ancillary Services

Rural Transport

By definition needs to be County based.


This is already a shared service and is headquartered in Dungarvan.
Sports Partnership

The Sports Partnership is currently headquartered in Dungarvan and operates on a shared service basis with personnel in both locations.

Property Management

The City currently has an active though small property management section and accordingly the City is seen as the base.

Sports Facilities

City Council have the RSC, Manor St. John and Williamstown Golf Course complexes, while the County have only the Sports Complex in Dungarvan.


There probably is a dominance of investment, venues and activity in the City but services will be provided from both City and Dungarvan.

Archive Records

Waterford City Council owns it’s Archive Centre and subject to space requirements being met it would appear logical to use Carrickphierish, albeit an option may exist in the Library Headquarters in Lismore.

Internal Audit

Can be located in either Dungarvan or Waterford and may ultimately become a regional service. Question exists as to whether service should reside with Finance or not – reports directly to Manager.

Heritage and Conservation

The extent of Heritage Assets in the City probably outweigh in workload terms the Natural Heritage issues in the County.


The limited Architects section in the City should probably be aligned with the Forward Planning Dept. and continue to be focussed on urban regeneration.

D. Possible Location of Main Customer Service Offices for Individual Departments

The following table outlines in summary form the preliminary view of the Committee;

Dungarvan                                                  Waterford City

Core Services

Roads                                                        Corporate Services and Human Resources

Water Services                                           Housing and Community Services
                                                                  (incl. Community Forum & Social

Planning                                                      Economic Development and Tourism

Environment                                                Emergency Services

Finance                                                       Libraries

ICT                                                             Parks, Open Spaces and Playgrounds
                                                                   (incl. Cleansing Operations)

Motor Taxation

Ancillary Services 

Internal Audit                                               Property Management

Sports Partnership                                       Arts

Rural Transport                                           Sports Facilities

Veterinary Services                                      Architects Office

Heritage                                                      Archives and Records Management

E. Next Steps

It is proposed that given the short time frame, that there would be early sign off from the Implementation Committee in relation to a proposed staff structure.

It is intended that detailed analysis will be undertaken by senior staff throughout January for each of the services having regard at a minimum to the following:

• The validity of the preliminary assumptions

• Customer service demands

• Resource allocation and availability

• Analysis of key procedural or policy issues

• The impact of ongoing national initiatives (shared services, procurement etc.)

• Key timeframe issues with milestones identified

• Overall workforce planning

Staff consultations will be undertaken through the union/management steering and operational groups which have been set up through the Significant Change process. The City and County Managers have also committed to undertake staff briefings on an ongoing basis. A consultation and information protocol has been attached as an Appendix to this document.

The Implementation Committee will also be meeting with political representatives from both City and County and will be meeting in early February to further consider the issues.