City of Sydney statement on City Engagement staff

20 September 2013

The City of Sydney has a statutory obligation to inform all residents in its Local Government Area of its actions and operations, the majority of which emanate from decisions of Council.

The City Engagement Division consists of seven business areas – Media and Communications; Marketing; City Conversations; Community Relations; Publishing Services; Customer Service and Business Support.

Six full time media staff respond to more than 2,000 media inquiries every year. They issue over 450 media releases annually relating to Council decisions.

Media staff promote the City’s many operations, services, and projects which are delivered on behalf of ratepayers, residents, workers, visitors and tourists every day of the year.

These services, including cleansing, waste collection, parks, libraries, swimming pools and recreation, ensure our global city looks its best and that Sydneysiders have the essential services they expect.

Media staff also promote and drive up attendance at the City's many events, including New Year's Eve, the biggest and best fireworks party in the world.

The City’s five full time communications staff communicate directly to residents and update the City’s website. These staff do not deal with media issues. They ensure the public is informed of upcoming capital works projects, project updates and launches and public consultation processes.

This includes the production of website materials, letterbox drops, flyers, signage, the Council's annual report, residents’ guides, and activity guides.

The City Conversations Unit delivers approximately 80 community events every year.

Since December 2012, the Strategic Community Consultation team has conducted community and stakeholder consultation on more than 70 projects, organised 42 community meetings and 55 stakeholder meetings, and hosted more than 24 project pages online that have attracted more than 171,00 site visits.

Under the Local Government Act, Council is required to inform the public of its policies and decisions on how ratepayer money is being spent. This is provided in the City’s annual report and online.

The 2013/14 operating budget for all City Engagement areas excluding Customer Service is $11.9 million. This is just 2.3 per cent of the City’s overall expected turnover and represents excellent use of ratepayer funds in keeping the community informed.

This value was underscored in the recent NSW Treasury Corporation assessment of the City of Sydney’s financial sustainability as strong with a positive outlook, the only council in NSW to achieve this result.

In the last financial year, the City spent $1.08 million on media and communications staff salaries and approximately $40,000 on external media and communications consultants.

Last updated: Wednesday, 8 January 2014