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Council assessment deferred a year

Gisborne District Council has decided to not complete a CouncilMark assessment this year and will defer it until April 2020.

CouncilMARK is part of Local Government New Zealand’s excellence programme which includes as independent assessment.

The staff recommendation from risk partner Katie Kay was to defer the council’s assessment.

The council is already committed to a full work programme for the 2018/19 year and the timing of the assessment coincided with delivering projects of national significance for Tuia 250 and obligations outlined in various Provincial Growth Funds grants.

The decision to defer was made despite concern from some councillors.

Brian Wilson said the council had to make itself accountable to the public and this was one way of addressing that.

He felt the council was not quite up to standard — there were some areas where it did well and some where it did not so well. The council should not just keep putting this off — it should make a decision.

Pat Seymour said the council should make it clear it was committing to a CouncilMARK assessment in 2020.

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said deferring the assessment was recommended because of staff concern over the workload ahead.

There was a need to review priorities and this was one they could consider leaving out.

This was an improvement tool but she felt the council had enough of these under way, such as an internal culture survey and other work it did.

The assessment would require a lot of resources.

Meredith Akuhata Brown said the council was continually reviewing its activities and considering the workload involved, she would be happy to defer this.

Mayor Meng Foon said a review could be a guide to getting optimum performance out of the organisation.

It could bring up some other issues that needed fixing.

But if people felt it should be deferred, he was happy with that.

Graeme Thomson said this was put off when a new chief executive was appointed but things should be in hand now. Year 2020 was the first year of the 10-year plan, so there would be a review of that as well.

If the council believed in this process, it should get on with it.

The recommendation to defer the assessment was carried.