Council to review processes

By Anne-Marie Emerson

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Wanganui District Council has formed a working party to review its decision-making in the light of government legislation that directs councils to focus solely on infrastructure.

The council's strategy and finance committee met on Tuesday and set up the group consisting of councillors Randhir Dahya, Hamish McDouall, Sue Westwood and council officers.

The working party was one of a number of recommendations to the committee from Stephanie Rose, the council's policy and corporate planning manager.

Ms Rose told councillors changes to the Local Government Act were made in December 2012 and included the adoption of a new local government purpose statement, requiring councils to focus on infrastructure and public services with the aim of reining in expenditure.

She said it was critical that when the council made a decision it was absolutely clear about what it was trying to achieve.

"This is because the new purpose statement is not just about 'what we do' but 'why we do it' and 'how we do it'."

Ms Rose said senior council managers had carried out a preliminary review which indicated that the council's current services were in line with the legislation.

"However, it is recommended that more detailed work be undertaken to assess overall compliance. This is particularly the case for activities such as economic development, community grants, and events."

Ms Rose said the council would need to examine any commercial activity it undertook.

"The council will need to remain vigilant about its involvement in any new or subsidiary activities, for example, its investments," she said.

Other recommendations passed by the committee included updating the council's decision-making guidance and report templates, establishing a process to ensure adherence to the new local government purpose statement, and carrying out a review of the council's "community outcomes", where local government identify and measure what is important to local communities.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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