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Municipal Association of Victoria kickstarts drive towards digital efficiency
WITH the digitisation of its procurement processes and the launch of a digital transformation taskforce, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) - the peak body for local government in Victoria, Australia - is taking big steps to drive the digital transformation of local government.
Cameron Spence, manager of commercial services at MAV, discusses why digitisation is increasingly important in this sector and the digital efficiency it has achieved from using DocuSign. DocuSign is the electronic-signature technology and digital transaction management service for facilitating electronic exchanges of contracts and signed documents.
Q: Can you tell us more about MAV and the role you play in supporting local government?
A: The role of the MAV includes advocacy for local government interests, building the capacity of councils and initiating policy development and advice.
A key service provided by the Commercial Services team is procurement. We act on behalf of local councils to conduct tenders and manage contracts - using our collective buying power to negotiate the best deals.
We also run a number of continuous-improvement programmes to help councils improve their procurement capability and performance.
Q: Why is digitisation important in the local government space?
A: Digitisation is critical to the sustainability of all organisations today. Efficiency is a key driver for local government, but we also have stakeholders who want to engage digitally with councils, just as they do with their banks or other service providers.
Currently, many council services are only available in-person from 9am to 5pm, which is counter-intuitive to the way most people live their lives.
The Government's Digital Transformation Agenda has made it a priority to address issues like this and make it easier for people to get things done with government.
Q: What steps have you taken to digitise your own business?
A: One of our first priorities has been digitising contract execution through the use of DocuSign.
MAV works with more than 300 suppliers annually, while Victorian councils collectively deal with more than 30,000. Streamlining the process of contracting those suppliers presented huge efficiency gains.
The old process was labour intensive. It could take weeks or even months to finalise a contract and there was no visibility as to where it was in the signing process. There was always the risk it would go missing or be stored in the wrong place.
We engaged DocuSign to digitise this process, making it seamless for users. It also enables traceability of contracts throughout the signing process.
Q: What benefits are you experiencing as a result?
A: Going digital with DocuSign has made the contract execution process overwhelmingly more efficient.
It has removed the time and hassle of chasing contracts as well as the costs of printing, posting and manual handling. Contracts are turned around much faster and we have more time to focus on activities that add value to our stakeholders.
The increased visibility of contracts has been a huge benefit as well.
We can use DocuSign to check the status of current contracts and view the history of old ones. We no longer need to worry about contracts being lost or rely on individuals to store them in the right place.
Q: What other opportunities do you see to digitise your own processes and those of your stakeholders?
A: We have set up a digital transformation taskforce and are looking at opportunities to improve processes internally and externally. Some of those we've identified include animal registration and the process of obtaining planning approval.
As the peak body for local government, we're also focused on enabling the councils to transform their own processes. The agreement we've put in place with DocuSign will give them access to the technology they need to achieve that.