Better than competent
Dunedin City Council has an experienced Mayor and leadership team, with a blend of new and established councillors. An experienced and respected Chief Executive has formed an effective leadership group dedicated to an agreed set of service values and ethics, and to delivering on a comprehensive set of integrated strategies.
All new staff receive a booklet from the Chief Executive proudly announcing, “We live in the quirky heart of New Zealand”. The booklet goes on to show that the city’s future depends on respecting its heritage and comprehensively planning to achieve the vision of becoming “one of the world’s great small cities”.
The Dunedin City Council is confident about its future and its plans to achieve it. The Council itself has had to both learn from, and deal with, a number of very public issues and failings of process controls in the past. The response from the Council has been admirable.
Investing money well
Council has consolidated its financial management processes after a period of disruption and reinvestment. This has given the Council new choices to more directly support its strategic goals.
Council has maintained a close watch on the ability of its residents to pay rates demands, while also delivering services and amenities expected of a “great small city”. This has required sound financial awareness and management.
Council has faced external fiscal challenges over the last decade (such as the performance of the local economy and low levels of household income), and it has had to manage the legacy of a major fraud event and income disruptions, including the development of the stadium and unrealistic dividend expectations from subsidiary companies. These challenges have been met and addressed in such a way that Council can confidently “rule a line” under them, while maintaining prudent attention to its future direction and supporting systems.
Delivering what’s important
Better than competent
Council has reviewed and reformed its delivery of services and has been implementing the required changes. It is seeking to consolidate the gains made and to deliver for the community.
Council’s service delivery has been subject to some very public delivery challenges, including cycleways and flooding in South Dunedin. However, Council has sought to learn from these experiences to improve future service delivery.
The management of assets-based delivery of services has been overhauled in recent years. A sound Infrastructure Strategy that fits within Council’s overall strategic framework is now in place. Personnel changes have consolidated the gains. Delivery improvements have been incremental.
Listening and responding
Dunedin City Council demonstrates high levels of commitment to communicating effectively with residents, the business community and other stakeholders. A range of channels and initiatives are used, depending on purpose, audience and subject matter.
A consistency of messaging is evident, founded on the use of the ‘Dunedin’ brand and reference to the strategic framework.
Council is striving to engage and communicate effectively with identified stakeholder groups. Considerable progress has been made in recent years, however, some coordination challenges are apparent and bureaucracy can inhibit effectiveness at times.