Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is embarking on a major shake-up of council functions, including water and stormwater, which have been in the spotlight following last week's devastating downpours.
The planned "value for money programme" review will focus on four main areas.
• Water, wastewater and stormwater services
• Domestic waste services, including rubbish, recycling, inorganic and organic services
• Organisational support, starting with communications and engagement activities
• Investment attractions and global partnerships looking at international and trade engagement across the council group
Part of the review will look at merging back office services - such as legal, payroll, HR and organisational support - between the council's six council-controlled organisations (CCOs) and Auckland Council to find savings of 10 per cent.
At present the six CCOs - Auckland Transport, Watercare, Panuku Development Auckland, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development(Ateed), Regional Facilities Auckland and Auckland Council Investments Ltd, largely operate services independent of one another.
The review is expected to be approved at next Tuesday's finance and performance committee. It will be run by an "expert panel" yet to be determined and completed in September this year.
Goff said the reviews will look at a number of services, starting with water services, domestic waste, communications and engagement, and international engagement.
"Over the next three years further services will be subject to review," he said.
The review is driven by Goff's promises during last year's local body election to "do more with less", including taking a hard look at "shared services" between the CCOs and council to save costs. He was also critical of council's large communications department.
He also promised to cut operating costs by 3 per cent to 6 per cent over and above budgeted savings. It is too early to know the scale of the savings that will flow from the review, and the number of job losses.
The council is already on a cost-savings drive, with library staff, many paid below the living wage, currently going through a disruptive shake-up to save $5 million a year. The council has received 104 staff applications to take voluntary redundancy across a mix of casual, part-time and full-time roles.
"We need to be proactive in ensuring that we are a cost-effective organisation and the first step is to assess where and how we are spending ratepayers' money. The review also ensures accountability of CCOs through Council to the people of Auckland," said Goff, who gave CCOs a heads up last year that a review was on the cards in "letters of expectation" to each CCO.
The review will be conducted under section 17A of the Local Government Act, which requires councils to review the cost effectiveness of their services every six years.
What is happening?
Mayor Goff is using powers in the Local Government Act to shake up four major areas of council services for savings.
Goff campaigned at last year's election on doing "more with less".
The first round for four council and council-controlled organisation(CCO) reviews will be completed by September
What will be the savings and will there be job losses?
Saving targets of 10 per cent have been set for some functions. Job losses can be expected.