Better than competent
The Council is successfully emerging from the regional amalgamation debate with its reputation enhanced as a more collaborative partner with responsibility in providing leadership across territorial boundaries on issues that affect the entire region. While further progress is needed, Elected Members and staff are working constructively to better define their collective and individual roles.
The decision not to proceed with regional amalgamation has left the Council with a challenge; to re-establish relationships with territorial authorities and to clearly define its role in local government and with its community. The challenge has required changes to the way it operates both internally and externally.
GRWC is re-emerging after the decision not to proceed with merging the region’s territorial authorities in 2015. Council staff understand the need to fully restore relationships across the regions with the territorial authorities, contractors and broader stakeholder groups. They need to rebuild an environment of transparency, collaboration and trust.
Investing money well
GWRC has managed its finances conservatively, but in a highly effective manner, so the Council is positioned well to fund the large-scale investment in infrastructure that will be required in the coming years. The quality of the financial reporting would be enhanced if the annual plans and reports were produced in a more “reader-friendly” form, comparable to that provided internally.
The Council has a very competent finance team who produce high quality financial and risk reports.
GWRC recognises that it needs to finance several large, essential infrastructure projects and programmes in the next 10 years.
Delivering what’s important
The Council has very strong internal capability, but it is tested by the diversity and complexity of its operational activities. It has particular strengths in policy development, environmental management and delivering public transport. Its operational strengths would benefit from more complete and coherent reporting of its operational goals and performance against those goals.
The Council’s responsibilities span a challenging array of policy development, regulatory control, operational service delivery, and commercial management activities.
It necessitates employing a wide range of internal talent and ensuring that these activities are well integrated and aligned to meet the Council’s community outcomes.
Listening and responding
The Council’s communication and engagement practices are led very strongly by the Chair and Chief Executive, and are complemented very ably by the corporate services and operational staff. All display a genuine commitment to being open, transparent and accountable to their community. Their actions are supported by comprehensive strategies and programmes for improving all forms of communication and engagement.
The Wellington region covers extensive and diverse stakeholder interests that range from large urban populations to farming communities, multiple iwi, and a variety of ethnic and socio-economic groups.
The level of effort and sophistication required to engage effectively with the diverse stakeholder group is considerable. It requires not only an understanding of the statutory obligations to consult and engage, but also a strong understanding of, and commitment to, the varied stakeholder interests and expectations within the region.