Proactive approach to maintenance sees improvement on ground

Requests are down and efficiency is up as Council’s proactive approach to open space maintenance brings tangible improvements to service delivery and customer satisfaction.

At last night’s meeting, Council noted a report on the implementation of the revised Open Space Maintenance Standards (OSMS) since they were adopted 12 months ago. The data points to marked improvements on the ground.

Adopted in June 2020 following community consultation, an internal service review of Council’s Open Space Maintenance Team and trials of operational changes, the Maintenance Standards aimed to enhance efficiency and safety, and adopt a more proactive approach to the maintenance of open space areas across Baw Baw Shire.

Key changes included:

  • Teams restructured by dedicated maintenance function (e.g. mowing, gardening) rather than by geographic location alone.
  • The implementation of a 10-week proactive maintenance program aiming to reduce the reliance on requests from the community for maintenance.
  • Regular and scheduled periods of additional works such as mulching, edging and weed control
  • An enhanced audit and inspection regime (commenced in February 2021), with 5 open spaces audited per week.

A review of the 64 audits undertaken since February indicates that almost all aspects of the revised Open Space Maintenance Standards are being met.

Analysis of maintenance requests received during the month of January for 2019, 2020 and 2021 (typically Council’s peak annual maintenance period), reveals a decrease of almost 32% in the number of requests received – despite the addition of 42 hectares of new maintainable open space coming online from new developments.

Significantly, over the period of 1 June 2019 to until 2 June 2021, 240 messages of appreciation and positive feedback have been received and logged.

In the wake of these encouraging improvements, other Infrastructure Maintenance teams are beginning to transition to similarly proactive maintenance programs. Early signs show a similar reduction in maintenance requests.

Quote attributable to Mayor Cr Danny Goss

“On behalf of Council, I’d like to thank the Infrastructure Maintenance team for the changes they’ve made and the efficiencies gained as a result. This is a great example of thinking outside the box. The way they’ve employed existing resources to better effect and for better community outcomes is fantastic. The positive feedback we’ve received is proof that residents are seeing the improvements on the ground. Well done to all.”

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