Coun­cil com­mu­ni­ca­tions un­der re­view

East and Bays Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - SI­MON MAUDE

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.

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