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  • 8 February 2010 12:41

Half a billion dollars in hidden costs can be saved in local government

On average, each council across Australia is missing out on potential annual savings of more than A$3 million per year through inefficient document production processes, according to new research from Objective Corporation (ASX:OCL), a specialist provider of content, collaboration and process management solutions.

Across the country, this equates to approximately half a billion dollars in hidden costs to be saved each year for Australian local government.

Similar research conducted by Objective in the United Kingdom uncovered potential savings for the public sector of GBP £1 billion.

On the back of this and the launch of Objective’s solutions in ANZ, research has been conducted across a large sample of documents from 120 Australian councils, to map activities, costs and resources supporting the creation and publishing of documents.

The findings have identified an untapped area for cost savings and performance improvements in the document creation lifecycle.

Tony Walls, CEO, Objective Corporation, says: “The sheer number of documents, many of which are statutory, produced each year by local government lent itself to this research. This study aims to highlight where, when and how real savings can be delivered against a backdrop of financial constraint and increased pressure for better service delivery to the community.

“Our research suggests business transformation and process efficiency improvements, through the use of our uCreate and uEngage solutions, offer local authorities a new opportunity for savings.”

Key findings include:

· A$3 million can be saved by individual councils in the document production process through improved business processes, design and print

· On average, an Australian council has 2,458 live and current documents in the public domain

· The average annual production of documents is 782 for an Australian council, made up of more than 9,000 pages of new content each year

· 64 per cent of documents produced by local authorities are of low design standard, with little or no structure, formatting or style. Half of all documents produced have no branding whatsoever.

This activity can cost a large Australian council up to A$10 million a year.

· In terms of hidden costs, a council could save up to A$2.6 million by improving business processes

· A council could save up to A$568,000 as a result of improving the way they use graphic design services

· Improvements in print management can also deliver significant savings, of up to A$300,000.

Walls added, "These figures present a very strong case for councils to consider adopting best practice creation and publishing processes for policy and planning documents, to provide a significant and viable option for delivering ‘hidden’ savings.

“Our experience in the United Kingdom, where Objective’s solutions have over 50% of local government market share, shows that councils have become experts in managing tight budgets over the years.

“However they are likely to be facing tighter financial constraints in the very near future, which will extend over a long period of time. Our research identifies substantial cost saving opportunities that are achievable for councils across Australia. These savings can be converted into providing better services at a lower cost to the community,” he concluded.

To find out more about the research, download your copy at www.objective.com/c2p

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