Local Government Magazine

Consultation documents: Better but still room for improvement

The Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) has singled out four councils’ consultation documents as good examples for others to follow. In its recent report, Long-term plans: Our audits of councils’ consultation documents, the OAG encouraged all councils to consider the examples from Hauraki, Waimate, Horowhenua and Gisborne district councils as they plan their future consultation documents.

“We considered all 2018-28 consultation documents to be fit for purpose,” says the OAG. “However, many of the opportunities for improvement noted in our 2015 report have not been realised. In our view, there are still opportunities for councils to improve the content, structure and presentation of their consultation documents and we encourage councils to do so.”

The latest report is based on the OAG’s audits of councils’ 2018-28 consultation documents. It is a mix of reflection, commentary, and good-practice guidance. The OAG says it would like councils to use the report “to challenge themselves on where they can improve, both in how they produce a consultation document and the processes they use to engage with their community”.

Consultation documents are expected to concisely and clearly present the significant issues, plans, and projects that councils intend to include in their long-term plans.

This article was first published in the September 2018 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.

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