Christie Flippence is the Cemeteries Manager for the  Central Coast Council (CCC) ins NSW.

Christies presentation will focus on the recent IT project CCC has completed – the implementation of a fit-for-purpose cemeteries system. Many Council cemetery operators will understand how difficult it can be to raise the profile of cemeteries within the Council environment. They will also understand that it can be a battle to gain approval and budget for any type of major project. The presentation will provide insight into the process that was undertaken, from start to finish. Including restructure, business cases, optimising opportunity and the analysis of needs, risk and future direction. In sharing their journey and lessons learnt, other operators may learn a few tricks and ideas that may help get their ideas off the ground and highlight that Councils can have the fit-for purpose IT systems the big industry players have.

Other topics covered in the presentation will include how CCC are rethinking their infrastructure and capital works with a stronger focus on increasing revenue while decreasing operational/maintenance costs and utilising a volunteer program to supplement maintenance with budget allocation from other areas of Council.

Christie has been with CCC for 12 years. She commenced her cemetery career as a cemetery officer at the former Wyong Council, which also came along with the holiday park marketing assistant role and the sick/annual leave child care roster co-ordination. Over the years, the role dropped off the “extras” and became 100% cemeteries focus. When amalgamation occurred Christie’s role changed dramatically, going from 5 to 13 cemeteries and no additional staff. This led to a restructure and the creation of a cemeteries section which is currently the smallest Section within Council – a team of 1 plus 2 x part time staff. A Bereavement Officer and an Administration Officer.

Over the last 5 years, Christie’s focus has been on not only improving the customer experience for the community but to ensure they have a plan and are well equipped to be a sustainable entity within the Council.

Christie also like to challenge Council’s thinking about cemeteries and push the boundaries from what has always been done to thinking about what we can do in the future.

Christie is a Director of CCANSW, a position she has held since 2016. She is the Chair of the Education and Training committee.