Greater Wellington excels in LGNZ CouncilMark assessment
Greater Wellington Regional Council has received an AA rating in a just-published CouncilMARK assessment. The independent assessment, made under the Local Government New Zealand excellence programme, recognises Greater Wellington as one of the best performing councils of the 18 it has so far assessed.
“We are really pleased with the outcome. It endorses the hard work both council and staff are putting into making the Wellington region a great place in which to live,” says Greater Wellington Chair, Councillor Chris Laidlaw.
“There’s been a significant change in approach by the council and it’s been acknowledged in the report. We’re focussing on what really matters to people in the region and treating them as customers, not simply as ratepayers.
“In practice, this means that Greater Wellington is moving towards improving its performance, in particular by understanding our customers’ perspectives and delivering services in ways that have meaning for them.
“So we’ve moved quickly on key issues of important to the people of the region. These include building resilience into regional infrastructure to minimise the impact of increasingly volatile weather, moving public transport into a new and sustainable era to reduce congestion, and raising the bar on environmental protection.
“As the report finds, we’re making great progress in these areas while running a very tight ship, both financially and operationally. And we’ve redoubled our efforts to engage and communicate with our customers, a point also noted in the report.” says Cllr Laidlaw.
The report also notes areas in which Greater Wellington can lift its game. These include: making sure new strategies and projects align with desired outcomes; providing greater transparency on setting and allocating rates; providing more readable and accessible financial and operational performance information; developing Key Performance Indicators for measuring the success in community engagement; and providing better information on environmental issues within the region, including the effectiveness of Greater Wellington in lifting regional environmental standards. These, and other recommendations contained in the report, will be actively addressed as part of Greater Wellington’s continuing improvement process.
“I’m particularly proud we’ve been rated so highly so soon after the disruption and dislocation of staff, following the Kaikoura earthquake. Our staff worked very hard to keep services running under very trying circumstances.”
The independent assessment covered four areas of Greater Wellington’s activities: governance, leadership and strategy, financial decision-making and transparency, service delivery and asset management, and communicating and engaging with the public and business.
LGNZ’s methodology involved in-depth interviews with councillors, staff and stakeholders, as well as a thorough review of Greater Wellington’s key financial and operational documents.
Greater Wellington was assessed as ‘Stand out’ for financial investment, decision-making and transparency, and for listening and responding - communicating and engaging with the public and business. It was rated as ‘Performing well’ in service delivery and asset management, and ”Better than competent” in Leading locally - governance, leadership and strategy.
To quote from the report: “The council has undergone a significant internal and external transformation to position itself as a highly competent and collaborative partner in the Wellington region. The council is increasingly winning the trust and confidence of both its community and the other local authorities in the region. It is well placed to take a strong leadership role in enhancing the region’s infrastructure, environment and economy.”
“Of course, we don’t claim we always get it right,” says Cllr Laidlaw, “Some of the things we do won’t please everyone and they generate vigorous public debate. But as the report says, we try to display ‘a genuine commitment to being open, transparent and accountable to our community.’ Surely, that’s all you can ask?”
Cllr Laidlaw added that while the LGNZ report was very welcome, Greater Wellington remains committed to continually improving its services to the community and will constantly look for opportunities to better serve its customers.
To view LGNZ’s CouncilMark assessment, please go to: http://www.lgnz.co.nz/about-councilmark/participating-councils/greater-wellington-regional-council/report#section-1