Governance structures of the Central Hawke's Bay District Council could come under review if councillors decide to redefine the lines between council and management.

At Wednesday's general council meeting the district's elected representatives will discuss the possible appointment of the Local Government New Zealand's EquiP team to conduct the review.

According to the group's website, EquiP works directly with council staff, mayors and elected members to provide customised guidance and tools to drive efficiency and effect throughout local government to support governance and management excellence.

In the background section of the report submitted to the council meeting's agenda, council chief executive John Freeman said his council was a small rural council where councillors and staff were part of the fabric of their communities.


"As with most small councils, councillors and staff are a lot more accessible to members of their community than in larger districts," he said.

"This easy access to councillors and staff sometimes blurs the line between governance and management." He said that "blurring of the lines" was generally not a problem, as both councillors and staff are working together on what is best for the district.

Moreover, Mr Freeman said council also had a less rigid approach to adhering to standing orders at council and committee meetings than some other councils.

"As it feels that this approach allows for a freer flow of discussion at council and committee meetings," he said.

Mr Freeman said council considers that the first step should be to carry out a review of its current council governance practices to include but not be limited to the following areas such as the quality of the governance process, the line between governance and management and the extent and limitations of executive decision making. Also, the roles and responsibility of portfolio holders, the balance between the public's right to know [and] the implied reason to go into "public excluded" and councillors' access to information and the ability to make informed decisions.

Other areas are the use of workshops and forums and the information that flows from them and verbal reporting and the quality of written reports.

Mayor Peter Butler said it was not a review but rather a way of looking forward.

"Making sure we are doing the right things, that's all," he said.

The mayor said the agenda item came at the request of councillors.

Mr Freeman said the council decided that as amalgamation was no longer in play it was time "we looked at what we are doing and where we are going in the future".

"In light of the election coming up later in the year making sure we are dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's," he said.

"I have only written the paper based on what the councillors have asked for."

Mr Freeman said this review has nothing to do with the current audit being undertaken of the council's Building Consent Authority.

"They are two separate things," he said.

"The [council's] operational structure won't be under [this] review."