The Shire of Nillumbik is located less than 25 kilometres north-east of Melbourne, and has the Yarra River as its southern boundary with Kinglake National Park to the north. The Shire covers an area of 431.94 square kilometres and has an estimated population of 64,219 who live in close-knit communities which range from typical urban settings to remote and tranquil bush properties.
Nillumbik Shire Council identified a need to review and update their existing IT policies and especially identify any gaps between policy and practice. The system needed to be completed within the regulatory and legislative framework specific to the Council. The aim was to ensure access for all staff and to provide a system which would be easily maintained. Finally, the solution had to bring financial and resources savings to the Council.
On assessing the project the council determined a number of challenges and considerations. They included:
- Policy development is time consuming
- Low on the priority “to do” list
- Hard to get started with a blank canvas
- Writing policy is not exciting, it’s not cool and it’s not going to make you popular with the user community
- IT doesn’t want to appear as the “IT Police”
- The IT - HR disconnect
- Regulatory compliance adds complexity
- Auditors and risk manager requirements
A decision was made to engage with Kaon Security after understanding what “off the shelf” Policy Systems exist. Kaon had the right credentials having worked in the Local Government IT sector for over 15 years in addition to their inclusive and comprehensive methodology for working on IT policy development.
The Kaon Security methodology incorporated the following steps:
- Completion of a questionnaire
- Preparation of first draft
- Onsite review conducted over two days
- Final version delivered
- Implementation guidelines provided
- Maintenance to allow further changes over time
“Critical to managing the IT environment, the project ensured that IT policy was developed to fit the organisation, accessible by all, and met organisational regulatory compliance and legislative requirements” says Trish Spiteri, Manager Information Technology at Nillumbik Shire Council.
The IT Policy System has provided the Council with a number of major benefits including:
- Cost effective, time saving system
- A simple process that delivers on objectives
- Reviews process and identifies gaps between policy and practice
- Links policy, procedure and other documents
- Easy to deploy
- No training required for users
- IT policies accessible for all staff
- Maintenance options to keep up to date
- Big tick from auditors
The ICT Group of Municipal Authorities Victoria recognised Nillumbik Shire Council’s project with a collaboration award in 2013. The Council had demonstrated significant leadership in initiating the project, evaluating the most appropriate pathway for implementation and shared their knowledge and experiences with interested parties in MAV.
The project was a trailblazer for the sector and has served as a model for best practice in the area of IT Policy successful integration. As of October 2013, the IT Policy System has been implemented across more than 25 Victorian Councils.