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Commercialisation of CityWorks




Coffs Harbour City Council

Open Road3

Innovation in local government takes many forms and has many different drivers but, above all, it takes action. Coffs Harbour has just finished a process through which it has commercialised its works unit, CityWorks, to establish CityWorks as Business Unit equipped, capable and able to deliver large scale physical works projects for private clients.


The commercialisation process began as a means to ensure a continued volume of work for CityWorks beyond the completion of a large capital works program. The process has delivered that and more with significant extra revenue for Council, increased efficiency on Council's own capital works and maintenance programs and a wider economic benefit for the region through increased work for sub-contractors.


Undertaking private works, that is work for clients who are not the Council, is not a decision to be undertaken lightly. The practice exposes Council to a number of risks not normally faced by local government organisations. To properly and successfully undertake private works requires significant changes to almost all of a council's systems and processes to properly mitigate the risks, provide assurance and oversight for the Council and the incentives to the business unit to succeed.

Introducing external expertise through an advisory board, developing governance protocols and service levels agreements, as well as monthly, quarterly and annual reporting frameworks was all part of the commercialisation process. Overall the commercialisation of Coffs Harbour CityWorks is a great example of what local government can achieve when given the opportunity to seek its own solutions.

For further information see the attached conference paper jointly presented to the NSW IPWEA 2015 conference by Dan Bonifant and CityWorks Manager, Allan Hindmarsh.

Project Contact: Dan Bonifant

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