Penrith Continues Quest for Best of Breed

Penrith Continues Quest for Best of Breed

Penrith City Council has taken another step on an evolutionary journey towards “best of breed” processing by starting installation of Mondelio for budget monitoring, particularly in the Finance Department, where it will be used to model long term scenarios.

In 2001 the Council installed Technology One’s integrated Finance One and Proclaim One software solution (Technology One’s software is currently used by around 70 Local Government Authorities in Aust & NZ). Installing the e-Business-enabled financial management and property systems, which replaced a monolithic Fujitsu mainframe and some antiquated systems, was part of a quest for increased productivity and cost efficiencies, according to Senior Corporate Accountant Peter Browne.

Penrith City Council found itself needing greater detail and precision in budgeting and tracking expenditure, monitoring on-going projects and planning long-term outcomes for capital works and existing infrastructure

However Browne says because the Council’s information requirements were so extensive — the asset management register, for example, contains 16,000 assets — their existing financial management system consumed too much staff time on managing budgets. Mondelio claims it is designed to provide a better system for longer term planning.

“While Finance One is an excellent database for capturing actuals, we weren’t satisfied that we’d actually got exactly where we wanted to be with regard to long term planning and budget management in general. This is where the Mondelio product comes in,” Browne says.

The solution should help the Council model the long term impact of growth on infrastructure taking into account revenue and asset lifecycle.

Meanwhile the Council is also trying to replace its records management/ information management systems, under a separate tender soon to be finalised.

Browne says getting a handle on risk management is a major part of the Council’s aims for the future. Currently long term planning is done in Excel spreadsheets, exposing the Council to significant risk of errors and causing people to lose track of project aims.

He says the Council believes there is room for some significant improvements in efficiencies by getting everything into interrelated compatible databases.

“From my perspective one of the big things that I’m noticing at the moment is everybody that comes up with a product has a workflow system attached to it of some description,” Browne says. “The question that I like to ask them is: ‘Does your workflow system talk to the workflow system of this other product which we’re also looking at getting or already have?

“What I really want is a single screen where somebody can log in at some time of the day and see everything that they need to see, whichever system it has been generated by — whether it’s the finance system saying you’re over budget, or a work order system saying your boss has assigned you this task to do, or a customer information question from the switchboard which has been assigned to you, or one of our asset management systems saying current maintenance expenditure is judged to be insufficient.”

Developed in Australia, Mondelio is an integrated corporate modelling solution used to develop and manage budgets, run feasibility studies and provide detailed reporting and forecasting. The Council is looking to Mondelio for improved efficiency in financial management, and effective control over long-term planning.

Penrith City Council was recently named NSW’s Public Sector Organisation of the year by CPA Australia. It has an annual budget of $150 million with around 1000 staff in 23 departments and its controlled entities.

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