Western Australian Department of Treasury (WA Treasury) wanted a more collaborative contract management regime to help maximise the government contract benefits. It also sought greater involvement in the bank’s activities with government departments and agencies and to work more closely with its transaction banking partner. To do this, WA Treasury introduced the concept of co-location through the In-House Bank Branch (IHBB). In March 2017 we started bringing co-location to life.
What is co-location?
WA Treasury requested a space where its representatives could sit with us, work on whole-of-government efficiency and improvement strategies and share data. Working around the Chinese wall issues, we created a sub-tenancy within our institutional banking office in Perth, where Treasury staff now work alongside their bankers.
It brings together everyone who works with WA Treasury – relationship managers and transactional bankers, product, implementation and technical experts and importantly, the government client service team. There is a problem-solving suite for Design Thinking and Six Sigma improvement processes.
Treasury representatives work from the IHBB three days a week. Guest Wi-Fi enables them to maintain access to their WA Treasury systems and files.
In April 2017 the new Western Australian government announced the first round of the Machinery of Government changes. The changes aim to create collaborative departments focused on whole-of-government objectives and delivering services more efficiently and effectively.
Effective 1 July, the WA government was reduced from 41 departments to 25. From a transaction banking perspective it was a very smooth process. Co-location enabled any issues to be addressed quickly, efficiently and in many cases, proactively.
One of our first major Six Sigma projects involved mapping processes at two agencies whereby one agency issued the paper work and payment request while the other reconciled the receipts. We brought the agencies together in the IHBB at the completion of the project to review the outcomes. Being together to review each other’s processes identified additional “quick wins” for implementation immediately that reduced workloads, improved efficiencies across both departments and delivered a better citizen experience.
Since then, co-location has been helpful with other activities. For instance, as we measure and benchmark agencies and identify pockets of best practice, co-location enhances data sharing between WA Treasury and ourselves.
The WA Treasury representatives now accompany us when we visit agencies to review financial management processes and conduct Design Thinking workshops. This helps build WA Treasury’s brand among the various agencies.
One project we have under way is ensuring agencies have online payment options. This aligns with the government’s overall goal to reduce the volume of cheques it issues and receives.
It also ties in with the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer’s (GCIO) plan to establish a one-stop shop for payments. Currently, there is only a landing page with links to the individual agencies. Eventually though, citizens will be able to pay fees and renew licences, for example, with just one payment.
Real benefits lie ahead
The change of government and Machinery of Government changes delayed getting more reviews under way. The real benefits of co-location likely won’t be seen until 2018, when more reviews are complete and the recommendations are identified and implemented.
WA Treasury is publicising the services we offer through semi-annual CFO Forums. We also find that as word gets out about work we have done for one department, others approach us for something similar. WA Treasury hopes other state governments will adopt co-location as a model for delivering greater value and better outcomes and build on the work we started in Western Australia.