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McGredy Winder 2017 SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards

The McGredy Winder 2017 SOLGM local government excellence awards - NZ Local Government Magazine May 2017

McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Supreme Award 
Innovation in Council Community Relations Category

WINNER: Waimakariri District Council
Draft Waimakariri Residential Red Zone Recovery Plan
The entry In December 2016 the government approved the Waimakariri Residential Red Zone Recovery Plan, which sets out how approximately 100 hectares of red-zoned land will be used in the short and long term. This integrates with the surrounding areas and plans to restore community assets to pre-quake status.
This entry focuses on the processes for engaging with a diverse community that was showing some signs of fatigue both with consultation and the personal impacts of the earthquakes and their aftermath.
Council’s engagement with the community utilised a 3D model of the affected areas and the impact of the proposals. During workshops the community was invited to attach ‘flags’ to the model showing likes (blue), dislikes (red) and new ideas (pink). Council used online ‘flyover videos’ to extend the reach to those who could not attend the workshops.
The council reports that there were some 30,000 interactions and 4000 comments received through the process.
The judges said The Red Zone Recovery Plan was a mission-critical deliverable for the council and the community. The timeframe and degree of community fatigue made this that much more challenging. The council’s approach is innovative, interactive and engaging. It draws people into interacting and, above all, makes it easy to participate. We were particularly impressed with the way in which young people participated in the process, even to the extent of guidance and advice on making effective presentations to council. We see applications across the range of planning and service delivery including land use planning, transport planning, environmental management (especially natural hazards) and urban planning.

About the Innovation in Council Community Relations category
This award recognises programmes, projects or initiatives that demonstrate outstanding results through innovative means of community engagement or empowerment. Entries may come from any area of local government activity but must have community engagement, empowerment or partnership as a key aspect. Entries may include successful collaboration with private or community organisations. The approach taken must be transferable to other local authorities. As in 2015 and 2016, this category had the largest number of entries.

The BERL Collaborative Government Action Category

WINNER: Kapiti Coast District Council
Getting Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway on the Road
The entry The council joined the Mackays to Peka Peka Alliance, a private sector consortium established by the New Zealand Transport Agency to design and build the Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway.
The project was a highly strategic decision for council, taken in recognition both of the impact that the lack of a second route was having on the overall quality of life, and in recognition of the substantial community concern.
Through its representation on the governance and management groups, the council was able to negotiate a better overall result for the community than it might otherwise have had.
The judges said This is a highly transferable example of a collaborative approach turning a politically-challenging community concern into an opportunity. The council has shown this collaborative model can be adapted to engagement with other land transport projects, with a town centre review, with a community futures project and with other engagement on topics such as bylaw reviews.
Through effort and careful negotiation with the community, the council and its partners in the alliance have delivered on a project that is likely to generate a great deal of social, economic and environmental benefit for the community now and in the future.
The Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway opened while judging was in progress. The award recognises a smart strategic decision and the value of getting ‘inside the tent’ to achieve a real result for the community.

This category recognises outstanding results that have been achieved through local authorities working with other government agencies. It could include programmes or projects from any area of local government activity, provided there is a demonstrable community benefit and the approach is transferable to other local authorities.
In previous years this category was known as the Joined Up Local Government Category. The change in title recognises that local authorities also partner with central government agencies, and ensures that these types of partnerships are eligible for an award.
This is the first year BERL has sponsored a category in the awards.

Innovation in Organisation and People Development Category

WINNER: Waikato Regional Council
Basic Investigative Skills for Local Government Training Programme
The entry The Basic Investigative Skills (BIS) programme helps councils prepare their compliance and enforcement staff with skills and tools to: consistently and transparently gather information when investigating possible breaches of the RMA; make good decisions; and take the right action.
Now in its fifth edition, the programme consists of a comprehensive users’ manual and a four-day workshop. The programme has been continuously refined since Waikato Region trialled it ‘in house’ in 2006 and has been rolled out to 25 councils and some 500 recipients.
The judges said The BIS programme addresses a significant area of risk in an activity that is one of the fundamentals of local government. BIS embodies several of the values that the award promotes. This is a striking example of the sector’s ability to share good practice – Waikato Region developed this for its own staff, now the programme is in use in around a third of the sector. The programme also embodies a continuous improvement ethos, with the developer regularly improving the course, including getting an independent review of its enforcement practice. A great result for the sector and for local communities.
Te Amorangi ki Mua, Te Ha-pai o  Ki Muri – Bicultural Capability Development Programme
The entry Te Amorangi ki Mua, Te Hāpai ō Ki Muri is a programme designed to enhance the capabilities of staff to work in partnership with local iwi, Te Arawa. The programme began with an internal ‘health check’ of the council’s capacity to work in partnership (including a set of progress measures). The approach has included a review of the council’s policies and procedures, promotion of the council as an employer of choice for Māori, and development of a framework for reporting outcomes for Māori. These were interwoven with opportunities for staff to learn Te Reo, noho marae and Treaty awareness.
The judges said Te Amorangi ki Mua, Te Hāpai ō Ki Muri is one of the steps that the council has taken to infuse its partnership with Te Arawa into the way it operates on a day-to-day basis.
This programme serves as an excellent reminder that a successful partnership is demonstrated by action as well as good intentions.
We were impressed with the actions the council took to establish its capacity to work in partnership through the health check. We commend the council for its recognition that working in partnership means a shift in the way that the council ‘does business’ and for being willing to change the way it operates. The willingness to harness the expertise of champions, being inclusive in the way the programme has been implemented, and the steps the council is taking to measure ongoing progress will stand the council and its partner in good stead.
Note The Te Arawa Partnership Programme received a Highly Commended Citation in last year’s Innovation in Council-Community Relations category.

 This category recognises innovative approaches to building an exceptional organisational culture or capability through the application of transformational leadership. Entries in this category might be multi-year programmes or one-off projects but they will involve organisational redesign, human resource management, capability development or related aspects. The approach must be capable of transfer to other local authorities.

The Local Government Funding Agency Transforming Service Delivery Category

WINNER: Christchurch City Council
Partnership Approvals
The entry The partnership approvals service is an example of the case management approach that agencies such as the Productivity Commission have recommended that local authorities adopt when undertaking complex consenting or licensing activity. Partnership approvals assist a client to identify and obtain timely regulatory approvals and compliance on large development projects.
The case manager provides a single point of contact for the customer, generally has specific expertise in the type of project or consent, and helps the customer avoid issues proactively. The case manager does not function as an advocate on behalf of the project.
SOLGM understands some 200 project clients have been through this process including commercial builders, community groups and large organisations such as Environment Canterbury.
The judges said The Transforming Service Delivery Category recognises projects or programmes that have resulted in a change in the way users experience the service. We understand the partnership approvals process is now promoted by MBIE, and has been the subject of discussion with other councils.
In making the award this year we recognise the nature of the transformative journey that Christchurch has undertaken to get from its starting point to where it is now with consenting large or specialised projects. This journey has taken place against the backdrop of pressing needs arising from the earthquakes, and improvements across the range of consenting practice and systems.

This is for programmes or projects that result in an exceptional service experience through innovative delivery models or the redesign of business processes or practices. The programme or project can relate to any area of council activity which delivers improved value for money to ratepayers. The approach must be capable of transfer to other local authorities.

Innovation in Policy and Regulatory Development and Implementation Category

WINNER: New Plymouth District Council
Waahi Tapu and Archaeological Sites Review
The entry New Plymouth has one of the densest concentrations of archaeological sites in New Zealand, many of which are waahi tapu. Not all sites are known and the location of some is inaccurately recorded, which has meant some sites have been damaged.
The review involved council and iwi jointly working to identify and register the location and nature of sites in the district. This includes a process for sharing information using a web-based GIS tool (a step ahead of the paper-based process in use previously).
We understand that the repository of information created through this process has identified some 1500 sites (as opposed to the 700 identified in New Plymouth’s District Plan). The repository is robust and provides for the protection of sensitive information. This establishes ‘one source of truth’ that can be used to support Resource Management Act functions and planning functions as well as acting as a record of historic and cultural heritage in its own right.
The judges said There are two aspects that made this a winning entry – the foundation of trust and goodwill that has been built, and the smart nature of the technical solution.
The location and nature of waahi tapu are deeply sensitive to iwi and hapu. The demonstrated degree of success would not have been possible without a sound foundation of trust between the council and the 13 iwi and hapu that were involved in the review. The review tells a compelling story of an extremely successful engagement process and has lessons for councils that are transferable across all activities and local authorities.
We were also impressed with the council’s smart use of an existing tool to transform an existing process and establish a repository for no more than the cost of the staff time involved.

This award recognises the development of robust and effective evidence-based policy or local regulatory initiatives. Entrants are expected to clearly demonstrate their initiative was based on the application of the principles of effective policy or regulatory design and implementation, development of an evidence base and that the initiative is transferable to other local authorities.

The Minister of Local Government’s Award for Innovation in Asset Management

WINNER: Whanganui District Council
Risk-Based Asset Management
The entry Risk-based asset management is the council’s name for an approach that involves the integration of ‘the right’ asset condition and performance information with hydraulic information and criticality information into a single Building Information Model (BIM).
The BIM will be used as an information source for the development of the council’s 30 Year Infrastructure Strategy, asset management plans and long-term plans. The intent is that asset decisions will be made based on a better assessment of risk and consequence, as opposed to the ‘remaining useful life’ models so often used with underground assets.
The judges said Decision-making based on an informed assessment of risk and consequence is the way ahead for asset management, especially with water and wastewater where the degree of risk is high and asset condition not always easy to observe.
Whanganui’s approach is an effective, pragmatic, evidence-based approach with the potential to deliver real value for money to its community. The sector can learn much from the process through which the council is turning a morass of data into useful information for asset management decisions.

The Minister’s Award recognises procedures, planning or practices that demonstrate innovative approaches to the management of assets. The entry must be capable of transfer to, or application by, other local authorities. This is the first year that SOLGM has had an award for asset management.

Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award

WINNER: Catherine (Cashy) Ball, team leader strategic policy, Whakatane District Council
The judges said Cashy’s leadership potential was clearly demonstrated through her management of a project involving the proposed sale of the council’s pensioner units – a highly controversial and sensitive issue.
Cashy took a very community-driven approach to solving this very contentious issue. She achieved significant positive outcomes for both the reputation of her council and all community stakeholders involved. It has enabled her to embed a model for best practice in stakeholder engagement across the council and one which she has shared with the sector.
Cashy’s project has also played a significant role in increasing community awareness of the positive role a council can play in their community.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: David Langford, infrastructure manager, New Plymouth District Council
The judges said David had an impressive record of achievement and the best CV presentation of all the applicants.
They noted his significant impact and contribution to both his council and the sector in terms of procurement and contract management. They said his approach would certainly constitute best practice and other councils could learn a lot from it.

The judges were: Linda O’Reilly, partner, Brookfields Lawyers; Nicola Richardson, leadership development manager, programmes – LDC (Leadership Development Centre); Mike Richardson, director, Time Well Spent; and Natalie Stevens, manager learning and development, SOLGM.
The award was hotly contested and we received a number of outstanding applications. Judges commented that it was gratifying to see such a positive contribution being made both from a community and council perspective at this level. It was clear that the local government sector was a good environment where people could make a real difference.
New for this year, kindly sponsored by Brookfields, is a fully-paid trip and provision to attend the ICMA Annual Conference in the US, the largest annual event in the world for local government managers and staff.

Management Challenge

WINNER: Tauranga City Council

The councils that entered this year were:
• Christchurch City Council
• Western Bay of Plenty District Council
• Taupo District Council
• Tauranga City Council
• Rotorua Lakes Council
• Whanganui District Council
• Whakatane District Council
• West Coast Regional Council
• Masterton District Council
• New Plymouth District Council
• Hastings District Council
• Bay of Plenty Regional Council
• Waikato District Council
• Wellington City Council.

The judges said What a great challenge. The 2017 Local Government Challenge saw 14 teams from across the country compete to win the New Zealand challenge and the right to represent our country in the finals in Hobart in May. There was an exceptionally high standard of teams. Tauranga City Council was the winning team this year closely followed by Christchurch City and Hastings District Council.
The judges were impressed by the team dynamics and professional reporting Tauranga produced. Having found a winner the judges commented that this was the best year yet, with a new venue that works better and a great bunch people.
If this is the standard of professionalism then local government is in great shape for the future.
Note: This is the second time in three years that a Tauranga City team has won the New Zealand leg of the Management Challenge.

About the challenge In March each year SOLGM runs the New Zealand leg of the Management Challenge, Australasia’s premier forum for current and emerging local government leaders. The winners of the New Zealand leg go on to represent New Zealand at the Australasian finals. There they compete against the winning teams from the seven Australian states. New Zealand teams have an exceptional record at the finals with two firsts, a second and a third place over the past four years.
SOLGM’s sister organisation, LGProfessionals Australia administers the challenge while SOLGM runs the New Zealand leg of the challenge.


The Skills Organisation Mt Eliza Scholarship: Leading for Strategic Success

WINNER: Andy Gowland-Douglas, CE, Buller District Council
The judges said This was an outstanding application. What made it unique was a clear personal vision statement and focus on a values-led approach to both community engagement and council operations. Andy’s core driver is to develop potential in individuals, teams, organisations and communities.

Leadership Development Centre (LDC) Leadership in Practice Scholarship

WINNER: Nicola Pinfold, group manager community and planning, Dunedin City Council
The judges said Nicola clearly articulated the benefits that would accrue from attending this programme both on a personal level and to her council as a whole.
Nicola has a large span of control and complexity in her role and her position of influence was significant. She was very clear about the value she would bring to the programme and contribution she could make.
Nicola has a solid track record of giving back to the community and would use her experience to continue to ‘give back’.

Overseas Manager Exchanges

United States (Sponsored by Civic Financial)

WINNER: Steve Hill, CE, Clutha District Council
This application was outstanding, very strategic in approach, and the benefits of the exchange to his council, the region and the overall experience for his exchange partner had been taken into consideration and were well demonstrated. Steve showed consideration in terms of timing from a council perspective and consulted with the potentially-affected parties. Steve was selective in his approach showing careful thought and was very clear about personal learning outcomes and benefits.
Steve’s exchange partner is in Mission Hills.
WINNER: Ken Morris, group manager business support and chief financial officer, Waipa District Council
This application clearly stated how and at what level Waipa District Council would be involved in making the exchange experience a success for the exchange partner. Ken had carefully considered the benefits to Waipa from an exchange partner facing similar issues and challenges. Ken has provided a set of well thought out personal objectives and benefits accruing for the exchange. He is a solid contributor to the local government sector and expressed a willingness to continue doing so through the exchange experience.
Ken’s exchange partner is in South Barrington.
Australia (Sponsored by JLT)
WINNER: Simon Young, unit manager, city delivery unit, Hamilton City Council
This application was well written with clearly articulated personal and council objectives. Simon demonstrated a good understanding of the issues and challenges facing Queensland particularly with respect to the management of water and associated water assets. He showed a keen interest in understanding how Queensland managed the ownership operations and respective networks of asset owners and how the knowledge could be used to help shape and develop a new model of operation in the Hamilton district.
Simon’s exchange will be to Queensland.
WINNER: Shanine Hermsen, manager community partnerships, Nelson City Council
This was a very well-rounded and well-considered application. Shanine’s special area of interest is in community partnerships and she is keen to investigate and benchmark her council against international examples of best practice. She had clearly thought about how her exchange partner could benefit not only from learning about her council’s own practices but demonstrated how she might include and involve other councils across New Zealand.
Shanine’s exchange will be to New South Wales.

British Columbia (Canada) (Sponsored by JLT)

WINNER: Liam Nolan, head of vertical capital delivery and professional services, Christchurch City Council
Liam’s approach was to highlight how the ongoing development and regeneration of Christchurch City could benefit from the solutions other cities faced with similar issues have employed.
His key objective was to provide insights as to how he could achieve a “community-centric, affordable, demand-based, value-for-money approach to Christchurch regeneration”. Liam provided a detailed approach to disseminating his experience and learnings back to his council.

About the exchanges Entries were judged on three criteria: quality of application and clear indication of how the exchange could benefit their own council (and potentially the sector); proven track record of creating and delivering initiatives over and beyond the normal scope of their job role; and clear evidence of individual contribution to the sector.

This article was first published in the May 2017 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.

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