Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Super City faces shrinkage to realise full benefits of eight-council merger

The Super City is downsizing, but the number of job losses and savings is not yet known.

The 6700 Auckland Council staff learned yesterday they face three to five years of "transformation" to deliver the full benefits of merging the former eight councils into a single council.

Council chief executive Doug McKay said that after 18 months of transition to the Super City, it was time to "change gear as individuals and as an organisation".

Mr McKay, who with senior executives announced the shake-up plan to staff, said there would be effects on jobs but it would be unfair to speculate on job losses.

The council's wages bill is $424 million this year.

The proposed changes will not affect the seven council-controlled organisations.

Asked whether the council would look at outsourcing its call centre overseas, as many private companies have done, Mr McKay said he doubted that would happen, but the council could consolidate the 220 call-centre staff in four main centres into one location.

One change likely to occur is consolidating many of the 3500 council staff housed in seven central city locations to a single location.

The old ASB headquarters on the corner of Albert and Wellesley Sts is one possibility for a new headquarters.

Another area that could face change is the council's 55 libraries, which with 1200 staff have the biggest group of council employees.

One of the goals will be to make the council more user-friendly for people.

Areas proposed for improvement include applying and paying for licences, permits and consents online and introducing a single complaints system.

The Auckland Council inherited 30 different methods of making a complaint from the previous councils.

It has also inherited more than 5000 software applications.

Chief operating officer Patricia Reade said the council was looking for quick wins, such as a new process for swimming pool compliance rules.

Mr McKay said the council was making $81 million of savings this financial year and budgeting $40 million of savings in the 2012-2013 year.

But it was too early to know what the savings would be from the transformation project.

- NZ Herald

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