The New Zealand Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) released a report on Thursday on ensuring community resilience while implementing austerity measures.
The report is the result of work SOLGM began in 2015 on the effects of fiscal constraint on councils. The objective was to understand ways in which councils can manage these effects and find innovative ways to increase and improve their resilience in service delivery to their communities.
The report focuses on four concepts used by English councils to meet the challenges of the austerity measures introduced since 2008 - service design and identification, co-production, increased community engagement, and shared service arrangements.
It's been designed to assist managers and staff in exploring alternate service delivery concepts and models - the application and adoption by councils of some or all of these could well become an important aspect of building resilience into New Zealand local government service delivery.
Charlotte McGimpsey, Governance Advisor and Policy Strategist at the Wairoa District Council was one of five co-authors (one from SOLGM and four from different councils throughout New Zealand).
Chief Executive Fergus Power says “It is unsurprising that Wairoa District should be leading the way in service resilience research and planning. This district needs to be at the forefront of smart thinking on how to make every dollar stretch that much further.”
“However, sometimes good decision-making means that we need to invest in new technology and approaches in order to make longer-term gains. Good examples were the Wairoa District Council’s internship programme, which allowed Council to do a great deal at minimal cost, and the implementation of the AlphaOne building control system, which has eliminated the need for the appointment of an additional building control officer.”
“That investment is now saving this community that additional salary, every year, year upon year.”
Mr Power congratulated Ms McGimpsey on her work on the service resilience research and said that Councils throughout New Zealand were increasingly paying attention to Wairoa District Council’s ability to contribute to the local government sector.
“Intelligent investment in new thinking and technologies is part of the recipe for arresting population decline in this district”, he said.
For more information:
Wairoa District Council
(06) 838 7309
31 October 2018
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