Council communications under review
Auckland Council doesn’t know if its multi-million-dollar communications spending is value for money.
A leaked report has revealed the local body is spending $45 million running its various communications departments, which employ 234 staff.
The ’Value for Money Review 2017’ breaks down the council’s operations within communications and public engagement but says it’s hard to ’’accurately establish the size of the service and its resources’’.
‘‘It is difficult to evaluate whether this service is delivering value for money or not as investment and performances evaluation disciplines are not widely used to demonstrate the impact,’’ the review says.
The report also highlighted a lack of a coordinated approach to gauging its own communications effectiveness.
It said the council needed a ‘‘communications and engagement strategy’’ in order to ‘‘set out clear objectives, responsibilities supported by appropriate protocols’’.
‘‘There is no coordinated approach to monitoring and measuring communications effectiveness,’’ the review adds.
Meanwhile, communications and engagement salary costs are ‘‘rising well above the council average’’.
Out of every $100 of ratepayer money $2 goes on funding the departments, the report calculates.
The review is a draft of the council’s spending in the communications and engagement departments, looking into the salaries and operation costs of staff at the council and five council-controlled organisations (CCOS).
From 2013 to 2017, council’s property management agency Panuku experienced more than double salary growth while larger agencies Auckland Transport and the council’s economic development agency Ateed jumped 56 per cent and 87 per cent respectively.
The 2017 report does show that between 2014 and 2017 the council saved 37 per cent by bringing external PR agency work including graphic design ‘‘in house’’.
A 2017 survey found just 17 per cent of Aucklanders surveyed trusted council.
Council did slightly better on breaking its 30 per cent target for Aucklanders surveyed feeling they had ‘‘opportunities to have a say shaping Auckland’’, achieving 34 per cent.