Relationships with Local Council

Thursday, August 07, 2014

The provision of grounds, pavilions, car parks, ground preparation, rubbish clearing and a host of indirect services are usually taken for granted.  These cost considerable sums in both capital and operating costs, which Councils are now finding necessary to identify, contain and reduce.

Clubs may take for granted the supply of these facilities and services without truly realising the level to which the community is supporting them.

Many councils have introduced the "user pays" principle and many sport and recreation clubs have been affected as a result.  Costs of facilities are therefore increasing and provision of services reducing, which both ultimately impact upon the users of the facilities - the people.

In order for the impact on clubs to be kept at a minimum, it is important that clubs develop a strategy through which a solid relationship with the local council can be developed.

Clubs should recognise the difficulties facing councils and be prepared to work with them in seeking solutions to local problems that will enable activity to prosper.  On the other hand, those in positions of authority need to recognise the importance of the development of activities at local level as a necessary pre-requisite to enhancement of public health and recreation.

There is then an area for mutual co-operation in which clubs can be of considerable assistance to their councils such as assistance in running holiday programs.  Clubs can also work with councils in an attempt to lower maintenance costs by forming consultative groups and working through local problems.

Many leagues and regional football bodies are working regularly with councils and have strong relationships enabling actions to be taken where development of facilities or operation issues require attention.  It is prudent to ensure that the league and regional administrators remain aware of items you are dealing with your local government on.

The following 10 steps are important in developing strong relationships with your local council.

  1. Get to know your Council through Councillors, senior officers and recreation and maintenance staff.
  2. Invite them to club functions, be hospitable, ask them to present trophies and show appreciation for services they provide.
  3. Understand the problems the Council is having and help them with issues that affect your club.
  4. If possible, offer assistance with the running of holiday programs.
  5. Praise the Council whenever you can, particularly in the media and any public arena.
  6. Approach problems constructively and seek "win - win" solutions.
  7. Encourage ethnic groups to take an interest in your activity by inviting them to participate in club activities.
  8. Insist on good behaviour, both on and off the field, exhibiting the elements of fair play and avoiding bad language.
  9. Be on good relations with the neighbours adjacent to your ground (complaints to the Council may tarnish your image).
  10. Establish a positive public relations program by appointing one of your members to carry out defined tasks, such as liaising with the Council.

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