CouncilMARK™ report delivers ‘A’ grade to small council doing big things

The Independent Assessment Board which oversees CouncilMARK™, the local government excellence programme, has today awarded Hauraki District Council with an A rating, citing stand out performance in governance, strategy and engagement with the community.

IAB Chair Toby Stevenson says the CouncilMARK™ assessors found a council led by a long-serving and highly respected mayor and chief executive team who hold strong relationships with residents, ratepayers, Māori and businesses.

“At the core of this council we found a culture that is based on humility and service to the ratepayers.  This has endured due to a thorough induction process where both the mayor and chief executive lead in their areas to ensure good governance process is understood, and that transparent, supportive relationships exist between the elected members and council staff,” says Stevenson.

“The council has an in-depth understanding of the community needs across three quite separate wards, which they are responsive too, and they’re particularly adept at balancing compliance and performance, which has earnt wide respect in the region.”

“There’s no shortcut to getting that understanding and respect – it’s been earnt through the process the council use to develop their Long Term Plan.  They produce accessible consultation documents, in plain English, without over-simplifying issues.”

“This is enhanced through their embracing of digital engagement - they’ve grown their Facebook page from 800 followers to over 4,000 in the last two years, and use it well to complement their strategy, particularly with young people in the region.”

The report finds a strong emphasis on continued infrastructure development, identified as an area needing continued investment.  In close proximity to Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, continued judicious financial management is needed to meet potentially conflicting growth demands across the region.

“The council has a long history of conservative financial management and a financial strategy that is underpinned by affordability.  It importantly reflects the emerging population trends within the district, including the number of people commuting to work in the region greater Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions.”

LGNZ President Dave Cull praised the council for undertaking a CouncilMARK™ assessment.

“Undergoing a CouncilMARK™ assessment is a commitment to transparency and continuous improvement.  The ratepayers of the region should be proud, not just of the great result, but the council’s open engagement with the Independent Assessment Board.”

IAB Chair Toby Stevenson says the CouncilMARK™ report, which can be found here, measures indicators across leadership, finance, asset management, service delivery and community engagement.

“CouncilMARK™ has been designed to improve the public's knowledge of the work councils are doing in their communities and to support individual councils to further improve the service and value they provide to all New Zealanders,” he says.