We have been able to develop models of best practice and as we work across the industry, we see the best and worst of many facets of business. SINC Solutions are therefore ideally placed to assist you in whatever management solutions you require in the government arena.
Listed below are some of the current “hot topics” in state and local government in which we have significant experience. If we haven’t listed your burning issue here, don’t hesitate to ask, because if it relates to state and local government we’ve probably done it before, and a few times at that.
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We have a number of specific training packages for Councillors on all the “HOT TOPICS”. Recent Councillor training has been provided on Code of Meeting Practice; Code of Conduct obligations and governance issues generally. Click here to Training page!
Promoting Better Practice Reviews/Health Checks
SINC Solutions has assisted other councils in either meeting best practice requirements; developing their responses to the report; assisting them in implementing the report recommendations from a better practice review. We can offer a complete service: for example put policies in place or review your current ones; train your staff; improve workplace relations, assist with community consultation; establish IHAP panels; establish better customer service frameworks; ensure Council meetings are compliant with legislation and policies; review the process for pecuniary interest returns; review risk management strategies; establish or assess internal audit programs; and ensure compliance with various legislation.
Conflict of Interests
Conflict of interests are wide and varied. They can occur during Council Meetings, recruitment, planning, general decision making, and tenders and are applicable to all of us. They can be perceived or real and when they are not handled properly, are becoming more common in our daily newspapers.
SINC Solutions is a specialist in this area of conflict of interests having conducted many in-depth investigations into conflict of interests and has provided abundant advice to staff, General Managers, Councillors and the community who interact with the organisation. We can provide: on-site face to face advice; training; off-site verbal or written advice; conduct investigations; implement and/or develop a specific policy; or provide solutions to prevent future problems from conflict of interests.
Code of Conduct
SINC Solutions staff have assisted many Councils in achieving just that. We know what has to be done up front, how to do it quickly yet effectively, what works for your size Council, and how to plan for future good governance ensuring best practice principles are met.
OK......numerous agencies have it - a long list of policies which sit on the shelf gathering dust or a swag of policies and procedures available on your intranet but staff rarely access them or know they are there? Staff and managers may be aware of conflict of interests but just don’t understand how to manage them? Have you implemented the model Code of Conduct on paper, but not in practice?
SINC Solutions can provide group or one-on-one training to your staff and we adapt our training programs to the relevant staff whether they are Councillors, Directors, Administration or outdoor staff. We understand that the same training program cannot be used for every agency or council, as each are unique. We also see the value in providing best practice information and real-life examples of situations in our training courses. Our trainers have extensive experience in the industry and first-hand knowledge giving SINC Solutions the added edge to training courses.
Our trainers bring contemporary examples and case studies to your staff so even our ‘Refresher’ training provides value ‘take-aways’ for everyone.
SINC Solutions can provide you with probity advisor services, procurement advice (short term or project specific), or investigate issues associated with a tender/procurement process. We are uniquely placed as we have worked on tender panels in government agencies and on the “other” side of the table. We have a thorough understanding of the Local and State government regulations and best practice principles.
SINC Solutions can provide advice and help you in setting up an internal audit function in your agency which can independently and objectively evaluate the adequacy and effectiveness of internal controls and at the same time link into your risk management system. We can show you the benefits of internal auditing, to your financial bottom line, and how it can improve efficiencies of overall systems and processes. We have been involved on risk, audits and committees in both Local and State government and we know what works and what doesn’t.
Recruitment and Selection
The fact is if you don’t get your recruitment and selection 100% right up front, you are going to have problems somewhere down the line which may involve a complaint from an unsuccessful candidate or a performance management issue because the ‘wrong’ choice was made.
SINC Solutions staff have conducted numerous reviews of recruitment practices and are sensitive to the differing requirements of agencies like councils who are recruiting for a wide range of positions. Policies and procedures need to be transparent and accountable, but not cumbersome and inefficient. They also need to stand up to external scrutiny and perhaps review by oversight agencies. SINC Solutions can also offer these solutions as well as specific training in recruitment and selection procedures.
Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality
SINC Solutions has significant experience in the development of strategic procurement frameworks and making the framework operative across an organisation either through a centralised or decentralised structure. It is tailored to your needs.
This is another area which SINC Solutions staff have first-hand expertise in implementing policies, managing gifts and benefits declarations and registers, providing advice to staff and Councillors, and adopting future strategies to ensure best practice of managing gifts and benefits is met in the most effective way. We can provide you with services such as specific advice on gifts and benefits received, to investigating more significant issues.
Conduct Review Committees
SINC Solutions can help you. We have a thorough understanding of conduct review committees and the way that they should work. Both Kath Roach and Claire Brogan are members of a number of Conduct Review Committees across a variety of metropolitan and rural NSW Councils. (see staff profiles)
Kath Roach has sat on over fifty conduct review matters under both the old and new Model Code of Conduct. She has had in-council experience in establishing panels with appropriate personnel, advising on specific matters, and investigating matters referred to the conduct review committee as chairperson, member or as a sole reviewer.
Very few consultancies can offer this valuable and specific experience. We also have experience in dealing with Councillors on a day to day basis and are aware of the political challenges that may face conduct review committees.
Our proforma documentation can assist General Managers and Mayors to meet their obligations in assessing the initial complaint under the provisions of the Code of Conduct for referral to the Conduct Review Committee or resolution at the local level.
SINC Solutions have proven experience and capability in dealing with the difficult and tricky area of secondary employment. We can provide advice on best practice, implement your policies, or investigate complaints including obtaining and coordinating covert surveillance if required for the more serious matters.
Grievances, Bullying and Harassment
This is an area of increasing concern amongst local and state government agencies, where today’s standards of procedural fairness in day to day workplace issues are not on the same playing field as yesterday’s supervisory styles. There is also a lot of media hype about bullying and some staff are therefore quick to make accusations regarding bullying and the accusation does not fit the definition of bullying.
SINC Solutions as an external and independent organization are well placed to review bullying and harassment issues, as it is extremely difficult for an internal person to adequately review issues of this type. We can come and hear what your staff have to say, review the issues, and provide you with recommendations and outcomes to successfully manage the employee relationships.
SINC Solutions staff have the experience and knowledge to obtain warrants for staff surveillance and skills to manage the information obtained. We also know what you need to do to comply with legislation if you are installing security cameras or surveillance equipment. We have the knowledge and practical experience to meet your obligatory needs.
SINC Solutions can offer your organisation a private ombudsman service, where complaints about the administration of the organisation can be lodged by members of the public, staff or other persons.
Typically, these complaints would not have been adequately resolved by the organisation, or could be more of a more serious nature such as misconduct, fraud or corruption. Our experience has shown that people are more likely to report wrongdoing to an independent reporting service than to report the matter internally.
Complaints received by SINC Solutions undergo initial investigation to ascertain the veracity and seriousness of the complaint in the particular circumstances. If warranted, a more detailed investigation is undertaken with recommendations for corrective action outlined in a report to the organisation’s representative.
Regular reporting back to the organisation on the complaints received by the External Ombudsman Service is undertaken in order to identify specific complaint trends within the organisation and ensure the organisation responds accordingly.
The core objective of an external ombudsman service is the promotion of good administration practices that are accountable, lawful, fair, transparent and responsive.
At SINC Solutions, our staff have extensive experience in administrative reviews, investigations, and most importantly working as ombudsman staff within an organisation. We are well equipped to provide this very unique service to our customers.
For government organisations, an external ombudsman service can act as a ‘stop-gap measure’ between your organisation and watchdog authorities such as the Ombudsman, ICAC or CMC, the Audit Office and the Department of Local Government. Our experience has shown that reviewing and addressing complaints early, can avoid those embarrassing public reports about your organisation.
Talk to us today about how we can tailor our External Ombudsman service to suit your particular needs.
SINC Solutions can offer organisations a Whistleblower Reporting Service, where employees or other persons can report suspected workplace misconduct to an independent and confidential service. These disclosures are made in accordance with the Protected Disclosures Act 1994 and relevant sections of the Corporations Act 2001.
Our experience has shown that people are more likely to report wrongdoing to an independent reporting service than report the matter internally, and many organisations either don’t have the trained staff available, or receive so few Protected Disclosures that it becomes difficult to maintain the required expertise. We are aware of the obligations to adequately receive and manage the disclosures and we can help your organisation handle these sensitive matters.
Many Protected Disclosures received by organisations are not about corruption, serious maladministration or a serious or substantial waste of public money and therefore may not be a Protected Disclosure in the true sense of the term.
SINC Solutions staff have first-hand experience in receiving and managing Protected Disclosures within an organisation and complying with relevant requirements.
We can provide your organisation with a confidential reporting service incorporating phone, email, fax or hard copy mail allowing Protected Disclosures to be made 24-7. We receive the Disclosure, provide a detailed report to the organisation on each Disclosure, and provide review and investigation services where required.
Potential Whistleblowers within your organisation require information about how to make a Protected Disclosure, and we can offer a variety of documentation and education packages including written communications and face to face training services.
Talk to us today about how we can tailor a Whistleblower Service to suit the particular needs of your organisation.
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