Review tracks improvements in Council governance

Invercargill City Council intends to carry out a six-month review of progress to address governance matters raised in the Thomson Report.

The review, the details of which will be considered and agreed by the full Council next week, is expected to be completed by the end of July and will consider the steps the council has taken to address governance matters raised in late 2020 in response to concerns raised by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).

Council unanimously adopted the findings of the Thomson Report and an Action Plan to address the issues raised in November last year.

Chief Executive Clare Hadley said the Action Plan involves monitoring and measuring progress along the way including the impact of the two External Appointees which Council put in place.

“This is an important piece of work for our Council as a whole. We have all put a lot of effort into improving our processes, systems and relationships over the last six months in order to better serve our community.”

“Seeking an external review of work to date will help us keep on track and deliver the outcomes Invercargill people need,” Mrs Hadley said.

“The intention is to have Richard Thomson, author of the original report, carry out the six-month review and gauge progress to date. In particular we want feedback on how our Action Plan has been implemented, whether it covered the key issues raised in his original report, any comments on progress and suggestions for future improvements.”

External Appointee and Project Governance Group Chair Jeff Grant said there had been a lot of work done over the past six months.

“We’ve put a lot of new processes and policies in place to support the organisation and I have seen marked improvements in the way meetings are run and decisions are made. There has also been a focus on building relationships between elected members themselves and also with staff at various levels. This work is ongoing, however, and we recognise it takes time to embed real change and make changes in behaviours.

“The six-month point is timely to take stock of progress and seek an independent appraisal of what needs to happen next,” Mr Grant said.

Progress to date includes: signing of a Council Charter; a 12-month programme of improvements to support the Council committee structure including reporting templates, new agenda and minutes technology, and improved LGOIMA (official information) processes; new professional development for councillors including financial governance, LGOIMA roles and responsibilities, tikanga Māori, meeting support, Local Government Act requirements, asset management and infrastructure needs, and Te Reo Māori; and development of a Council Induction process.

Once endorsed by Council, the review will be carried out during the coming month, reporting to Council in July/August.

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