New board members bring top skills to Local Government Excellence Programme

Local Government New Zealand is pleased to confirm the addition of two further high calibre members to the board overseeing its new programme designed to lift and demonstrate council performance.

Debbie Birch and Albert Brantley join chairman Toby Stevenson on the Independent Assessment Board to oversee the Local Government Excellence Programme.

Together the trio offer many years experience in public and private enterprise in New Zealand and abroad.

Mr Stevenson is Director of Sapere Research Group and an independent company director with 30 years experience in strategic risk management, Ms Birch has more than 30 years’ experience in global financial markets offshore and in New Zealand and most recently has been GM, Investments with Te Tumu Paeroa, and Mr Brantley is a former chief executive of Genesis Energy and current chief executive of Ōtākaro Limited, the Crown-owned company tasked with delivering Christchurch’s anchor projects.

The Local Government Excellence Programme is a system designed to demonstrate and improve the value and services of councils by measuring indicators across leadership, finance, service delivery and community engagement. Participating councils are assessed by independent experts every three years, given an overall rating from triple AAA to C, and the results publicised. Councils will discuss results with communities and use the assessments to plan improvements.

The system is set up to give communities a clear and independent picture of how well their council is performing in serving the community, and to give councils information on where they can improve. Twenty one councils have signed up as Foundation Councils to be to be assessed in its inaugural year, with the first four already underway.

Local Government New Zealand President Lawrence Yule says the board will oversee the independent assessors who will be working with councils.

“We are seeking to lift and demonstrate the performance of the sector and need strong and independent people to guide the process,” Mr Yule says.

“This Independent Assessment Board is the gold standard and one the local government sector and the communities it serves can have complete confidence in.”

Mr Stevenson says all Board members are looking forward to playing a part in making the Programme a success.

“This is a great Programme and a great opportunity for councils to look at how they work and find new ways of delivering value for their communities,” Mr Stevenson says.