BRIGHTON Council’s unique local government information technology business CouncilWise has won a major award for excellence presented by the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT).
Brighton received the LGAT award for delivering excellence for large councils with a population more than 15,000 through its wholly-owned CounciWise subsidiary partnering with Microsoft and other major technology firms.
Mayor Tony Foster said winning the award was a major achievement for Brighton Council which has been a leader in technology development for local government for more than 20 years.
Through CouncilWise, Brighton partners with leading local and international software providers to offer a cloud-based, future-ready whole-of-local government software platform at an effective price to councils of all sizes across Australia.
CouncilWise and its competitive pricing has received a positive response and strong interest from local government authorities around Australia and builds on Brighton’s early development and adoption of specific local government software solutions.
Cr Foster said in the early 1990s, dissatisfaction with available software products, saw Brighton Council seek a better way to manage property and rating, together with the core functions of a local government.
“We took the unusual step of supporting a staff member with programming experience to develop a new solution called PropertyWise, written from perspective of council staff and their needs,” he said.
“This went live in 1995, and soon neighbouring councils showed an interest and over the ensuing 23 years the user base of councils grew to include councils in Tasmania, Northern Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales, and Fiji.
“We formed our subsidiary business Microwise Pty Ltd to guide the development of the software and then took an active role in its marketing and commercialisation. Through this, we gained significant experience in customer service as well as the delivery needs of local government.
“Following discussions with a number of potential partners, Brighton Council developed the concept of a best-of-breed Local Government Management Platform aimed at delivering a highly capable software offering suited to modern local government needs.
“This resulted in the launch of a second wholly-owned subsidiary, CouncilWise Pty Ltd, to develop, integrate and market these ideas directly to local government customers.”
Cr Foster said local government in Australia spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually on expensive and often unsuited software and associated technology.
“CouncilWise now delivers the best possible software solutions to local government in Australia, served from the best cloud architecture available, through partnering with best-in-class technology providers.
“A key to this is the unique status of a Brighton Council being a Microsoft partner.
“Through this partnership, Brighton is taking a much cheaper and effective solution to other councils, starting with our approach to several hundred smaller councils on the mainland.
“The business also supports collaborative approaches between councils, shared services, the standardisation of best practice council business processes, and provides opportunities for councils to establish their own alternate revenue sources.
“Local government has a real need to diversify revenue streams to break the reliance on rates and grants from other tiers of government. For Brighton, this has meant forming a company and going to market with its software solution. For others, there will be other inherent strengths which could be marketed in new and innovative ways,” Cr Foster said.