Coun­cil mar­ket­ing spend more than $10m

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Heather McCracken

Auck­land City Coun­cil is spend­ing up to $12 mil­lion a year telling res­i­dents about its plans and poli­cies.

But an in­de­pen­dent re­view into the com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mar­ket­ing team couldn’t pin down ex­actly how much was spent.

Spend­ing was es­ti­mated at be­tween $10m and $12m, more than dou­ble the de­part­ment’s $5.4m bud­get. The ex­tra $5m to $7m was in­cluded un­der bud­gets for other coun­cil de­part­ments.

Deputy mayor David Hay says the re­port has good sug­ges­tions on how to bet­ter man­age the money un­der one team.

The re­view by pub­lic re­la­tions con­sul­tant Cedric Al­lan also showed room for cost ef­fi­cien­cies and sav­ings, he says.

“The first pri­or­ity is to get more ef­fec­tive spend­ing and com­ing from that you would hope we could have a re­duc­tion in costs,” he says.

City Vi­sion coun­cil­lors are also back­ing the re­port’s rec­om­men­da­tions, which in­clude cut­ting back the 500 brochures and fly­ers pro­duced ev­ery year.

Leila Boyle says the 38 com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mar­ket­ing staff could be bet­ter used, and out­side con­tract­ing could be scaled back.

“The staff have sig­nif­i­cant skills that are not be­ing used to coun­cil’s ad­van­tage,” she says.

“Surely we can keep all of this type of work in house and have coun­cil staff do it?”

T he city coun­cil’s an­nual con­tract with ad­ver­tis­ing and de­sign firm Ogilvy Metro, who pro­duced the con­tro­ver­sial new logo, is worth $4.1m.

The re­port says coun­cil’s spend­ing on com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mar­ket­ing is not out of line with other or­gan­i­sa­tions of sim­i­lar size, but noted it had never been re­viewed.

It found the group’s 38 staff and 10 con­trac­tors have “sig­nif­i­cant skills”.

Their core work in­volves pro­duc­ing weekly flyer City Scene, the draft an­nual plan and other pub­lic plans, me­dia, mar­ket re­search, pub­li­cis­ing coun­cil’s work and man­ag­ing pub­lic feed­back and con­sul­ta­tion.

Rec­om­men­da­tions were to re­duce the num­ber of brochures, stream­line pro­cesses, and ac­count for work for other de­part­ments. Salaries and con­tracts should be in­de­pen­dently re­viewed to make sure coun­cil isn’t pay­ing above mar­ket rates.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive David Rankin and staff have been asked to re­port back to next month’s fi­nance com­mit­tee meet­ing.

The com­mu­ni­ca­tions re­view cost $15,000.

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