Moree Plains Shire Council has used MAGIQ Performance to deliver its Operational Plan, achieving a significant improvement in the overall visibility of its organisational performance.
Moree Plains is located on the New South Wales and Queensland border in the heart of NSW’s Northern Wheatbelt. The Shire is one of the largest Council areas in New South Wales, covering more than 17,980 km2 and has a rich indigenous culture and history. Agriculture is the primary economic driver for the region and crops include wheat and cotton, sunflowers, mung beans, pecans and olives.
Moree Plains is also recognised nationally as the Artesian Spa Capital of Australia. The famous Moree Hot Mineral Baths originated in 1895, when the baths mercurial waters were accidentally discovered. While searching for a reliable source of irrigation water, a bore was sunk into the Great Artesian Basin. Amazingly, this bore derived hot mineral waters, heated naturally at 41 degrees Celsius. 300,000 people visit the baths annually to experience the therapeutic benefits of the waters at the newly developed Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre.
MAGIQ Performance is a highly sophisticated and powerful suite of Strategic Financial Management software including Budgeting, Reporting, Financial and Strategic Planning applications.
Moree Plains Shire has traditionally used the MAGIQ Performance product to meet its Budgeting and Financial Reporting requirements. Council has chosen to expand its use of the software, implementing the MAGIQ Strategic Planning application to achieve Council’s goal of more efficiently managing the delivery of its Operational Plan.
STREAMLINING OF OPERATIONAL PLAN
Prior to implementing MAGIQ Strategic Planning, Council had relied on a manual, highly administrative process to gather the data required to meet the State Government’s statutory reporting requirements.
According to Libby Carter, Moree Plains Shire Council’s Integrated Planning and Reporting Manager this process was not only incredibly time-consuming, but also led to significant issues with data consistency and accuracy.
“The data was being gathered, however there was very little consistency around the quality and degree of supporting commentary. This made it very difficult for senior management and our Councillors to understand and interpret the information – essentially we were applying the resources to meet the reporting requirement and not really using the data to any business advantage,” said Libby.
Libby recently reported to Council on the 2016/17 Operational Plan; the first report to be delivered using MAGIQ Strategic Planning, which according to Libby was extremely well received.
“One of our Councillors said that in more than 20 years at Council it was the most comprehensive report he had ever received about how we were tracking against our Operational Plan, which was fantastic feedback,” said Libby.
Libby believes the flexibility of MAGIQ Strategic Planning is a major strength.
“Unlike many other planning applications in the marketplace it’s very easy to use and customise,” said Libby. “Plus there’s really no limitation to the detail and sophistication of the reports and graphs we can produce – and it’s so easy to use we can do it ourselves.”
GREATER TRANSPARENCY TO SUPPORT ALLOCATION OF FUNDS
With the State Government’s “Fit for the Future” reform process driving a need to deliver improved business efficiency, Council had recognised a much greater level of transparency was required to efficiently manage allocation of funding across its more than 400 operational Activities.
Moree Plains was already using MAGIQ Performance to manage its budgetary and financial reporting requirements. Implementing the MAGIQ Strategic Planning application has provided Council with the powerful ability to view both planning and financial data; within a single, familiar system.
Council’s Budgetary Control Accountant, Bianca Senior commented that greater visibility over Activity expenditure has led to far more efficient allocation of Council’s limited funding. Expenditure for each Activity can now be easily tracked against budget and accurately evaluated within the context of the Operational Plan.
“MAGIQ Performance allows us to easily track and compare the status of an Activity against budgeted expenditure. For example an Activity may be 90% complete, yet we can see that only 50% of the budget allocation has been used. Having access to this data means we can much more efficiently allocate funding, and that means we are delivering better outcomes for our community,” said Bianca.
Moree Plains Shire has achieved significant timesavings and improved data transparency using the MAGIQ Strategic Planning application. In the future, Council will continue to expand its use of the software to take full advantage of the product’s rich and flexible strategic planning capabilities.