Barnes thinks council can lift its game
Improving the public perception of what council does is a challenge accepted by the Matamata-Piako District Council.
Mayor Jan Barnes says she was excited to hear the council had been chosen as just one of 21 local councils from throughout the country to be chose as a foundation council for the recently announced Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) standards programme.
The Local Government Excellence Programme, designed to improve the public knowledge of the work councils are doing in their communities and to support individual councils to further improve the value they provide to all New Zealanders.
Through the programme it encourages councils to consider incentives for growing a culture of performance and includes a strong focus on fiscal strength and financial management.
LGNZ President Lawrence Yule said the programme operates a cycle of continuous improvement and ensures residents and businesses are informed about local council performance.
‘‘It’s critically important, to let ratepayers know what their local councils do well and what needs improving,’’ said Mr Yule.
Barnes said the MatamataPiako wants to be part of the programme to raise the bar for ‘‘our council and raise the communities expectation of us’’.
‘‘Its a bold move as we are already proud of where we are at with our ratepayers through our confidence surveys but its always good to raise that level,’’ said Barnes.
‘‘We will be challenging staff, our elected members, we are asking how can we improve our systems, provide better services, how can we deliver to the ratepayer our very best.
We want to give ratepayers confidence that we are continuing providing them with a service they expect.
Through the programme participating councils will be assessed every three years, given a standard from A to C, and the results publicised.
Councils will then discuss results with communities and use the assessments to plan improvements. Results will be published in 2017.
Grant Holmes with Health and Safety Facilitator Kate Stevens (left) and mayor Jan Barnes.