A new CouncilMARK™ report released today takes a deep dive into Whanganui District Council’s operations, finding an organisation with a clear strategy and sound service delivery, who are on a pathway to further improvement.
CouncilMARK™ is an independent assessment programme that assesses how councils are performing and is designed to support individual councils to improve the service and value they provide. Councils receive an overall performance rating from the Independent Assessment Board, from C to AAA, as well as commentary on their performance.
Whanganui District Council are the 30th council to voluntarily undergo an assessment, receiving an overall rating of BB across the four priority areas of governance and leadership, financial decision making and transparency, service delivery and asset management and communicating and engaging with the public.
Beyond the final rating and comment, LGNZ President Dave Cull praises the council for going under the board’s microscope and committing to a long-term programme of independent assessment, noting that it will serve both the community and the council well in the coming years.
“Undergoing a CouncilMARK™ assessment is no mean feat and it brings considerable scrutiny on council operations, so we commend Whanganui for putting their hand up and volunteering for this assessment. It’s a signal to the ratepayers that as a council they won’t shirk away from transparency,” says LGNZ President Dave Cull.
Service delivery and asset management was found to be a standout area, with the report finding that core systems are operating well, and that a risk-based approach to roading development and other key assets has been delivering exemplary results.
“The council has invested wisely in core assets such as drinking and waste water infrastructure, as well as roading. The challenge for the council is to now use their targeted monitoring and predictive modelling across other areas, to get similar improvements.”
“While the council’s overarching Leading Edge strategy is well thought out and contains both specific actions and measurements to guide progress, the report challenges the council to better align other strategies within it, so that it’s easier for the public to engage with, and more efficient for the staff to follow.”
“The report finds that while the elected member group is relatively new, they’re led by an experienced chief executive and mayor and with more time, professional development and focused committees, they have an opportunity to become a thoroughly cohesive unit,” concluded Cull.