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CIO50 2021 #26-50: Allan Lightbourne, Tauranga City Council

  • Name Allan Lightbourne
  • Title Chief Digital Officer
  • Company Tauranga City Council
  • Commenced role April 2017
  • Reporting Line General Manager - Corporate Service
  • Member of the Executive Team No
  • Technology Function 85 staff, 25 contractors, four direct reports
  • Tauranga is New Zealand’s fastest growing city, with all of the opportunities and challenges that this creates. Every three years councils are required to develop a Long Term Plan (LTP) for the next 10 years. For the 2021 LTP, under the guidance of chief digital officer Allan Lightbourne, Tauranga City Council sought to increase community involvement using new technology.

    Lightbourne’s team leveraged the SAP Qualtrics platforms survey module, to digitally deliver the LTP out to the 140,000 members of our community allowing them to read, understand and respond. Responses could be delivered digitally, or by paper (which was then digitally consumed by the platform). Questions and queries from the community were then split by the platform, routed to relevant teams in the organisation for responses, then those responses delivered back to the respondent.

    All of this information was delivered in real-time to dashboards for use by senior managers and commissioners in the decision-making process. The results of this were:

    ·      40% Increased community engagement levels.

    ·      20% Improved community understanding.

    ·      30% Increased number of community submissions.

    ·      50% Reduction in staff time to manage and respond to each submission.

    ·      Improved analytics.

    This innovation came about through the need for Tauranga City Council to increase engagement with the community, at a time where the city’s services and infrastructure called for significant rates increases – therefore is what more important than ever to understand the real desires of our community. Lightbourne says that many in the council were resistant at first to changing the way that we had been doing things, but as people began to see the quantum and quality of the insights being made available, those thoughts started to change.

    “Winning the hearts and minds of the organisation took months of work. Starting with proof of concepts, strong steering committee leadership and a scrum team that never stopped connecting with staff and community to ensure the platform was going to achieve our collective goals,” Lightbourne says.

    He also notes the project was delivered alongside a number of other Digital initiatives, listed as:

    ·      Delivered a new finance (ERP) platform into the organisation in less than six months, through leveraging a copy of Auckland Councils SAP implementation.

    ·      Delivered the first customer journeys for our regulatory processes through the implementation of SAP C4.

    ·      Lifted our collaboration game by providing all people leaders education on how to lead remote teams and used this as a catalyst to rollout Microsoft Teams as our primary tool for working together.

    ·      Transformed the way we manage water, roading and park assets and transitioned our asset management system to the cloud.

    ·      Delivered a Stakeholder Management Prototype.

    ·      Delivered a new level of transparency through improved internal and community reporting.

    ·      Development of climate change and sea level rise models, visualisations, and 3D module to help our community understand how change will impact them.

    ·      Focus on lifting our cyber security maturity.

    ·      Became the first council in New Zealand to start meeting the new regulatory standard for records Retention and Disposal.

    Leadership extends beyond job title

    In addition to being CDO, Lightbourne is part of the capital projects steering committee, the culture and values Steering committee, the future ways of working steering committee, lead organisational change management for the company and part of the senior leadership steering committee. He is also deputy chair of ALGIM (Association of Local Government Information Management), on the board of the Rhubarb Group, the advisory board for the Strategic CIO Programme and the NZTech Tech Executive.

    “Through my role as deputy chair of ALGIM and just getting out and about across other Councils we bring this to life every day. By example, our core ERP platform is shared with Auckland Council, our new Waters Management Technology is a collaboration with Watercare and Western Bay District Council, we have shared our IT processes with 20 councils and our Records function is seem as the go-to team for other councils to reach out to for support,” he says.

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