New approach to consultation
It may come as a surprise that the council will likely no longer conduct a Special Consultation Procedure (SCP) prior to the passing of its Annual Plan.
Instead, it will undertake consultation through a less formal, more targeted approach. This could include running drop-in sessions where people will be able to have one-on-one and group conversations with councillors and staff and through online tools such as Survey Monkey to get quick feedback on specific topics.
The move follows the 2014 amendment of the Local Government Act 2007 which aimed to improve council engagement with their communities.
It recognised traditional written submissions and formal hearings were not allowing for effective engagement across many sectors of a community and that councils should instead be encouraged to look at other forms of engagement, especially with the growing use of social media.
As a result the amendment removed the requirement for councils to conduct a SCP during annual plan years if changes between the Annual Plan and what was forecast in that year of the Long
‘‘It allows flexibility in terms of community engagement.’’
Term Plan (LTP) were not significant.
During Thursday’s community and assets committee meeting the council’s strategic policy planner Tanya Wood said the council was now developing its Annual Plan which will confirm the council’s budget for the next financial year.
‘‘If there is no material difference between what we have proposed for the LTP and our budget for 2017 it means we don’t have to go through the formal consultation process. It allows flexibility in terms of community engagement,’’ she said.
Wood said not having a SCP would free up time to properly consider community ideas and suggestions for the LTP.
‘‘We recognise the hearing process can be quite daunting. Hopefully the drop in centre will work a lot better,’’ she said.
On average the council receives about 150 submissions a year with approximately 30 submitters speaking at hearings.
Councillor Peter Schulte disagreed with the proposal.