CouncilMARK™ report tells a positive story
Published on 28 April 2021
The Far North District Council has improved its overall rating in a local government excellence programme that assesses the performance of local authorities across key areas.
The CouncilMARK™ Independent Assessment Board awarded the Council a BB rating on a nine-point rating scale (AAA to C) in a report earlier this month. The rating is an improvement on the B rating the Council received when it was first assessed under the programme in 2017. It follows a 2½-day visit to the Council by CouncilMARK™ assessors Peter Crow and Dave Brash in November last year. The assessors evaluated the Council’s performance across four areas: governance, financial decision-making, service delivery and community engagement. The board rated the Council’s financial decision-making as ‘better than competent’ and its governance, service delivery and community engagement as ‘competent’. In 2017, the board rated community engagement as ‘better than competent’ and financial decision-making as ‘competent’. It rated governance and service delivery as ‘variable’.
Mayor John Carter says the report is strong affirmation of the Council’s progressiveness and a good result for a local authority that provides services to more than 40 towns and villages, as well as rural communities, scattered across a large and diverse district. “I have been a staunch supporter of the CouncilMARK™ programme since its inception, because I wanted us to have a foundation on which to become a better council. Our improved rating is a good step forward for a Council with significant infrastructure, affordability and socio-economic challenges.”
Mayor Carter thanks Elected Members and Council staff for investing time and effort over the last three years in an organisation-wide business improvement programme that addressed feedback in the 2017 report through 34 transformation projects. “Our focus has been on improving our capability, systems and service delivery, as well as our capacity to deliver infrastructure projects. It is gratifying to see independent assessors recognise these improvements.”
Chief Executive, Shaun Clarke, says he is proud of staff for the CouncilMARK™ result they have helped to deliver. “The way staff have dedicated themselves to improving our business practices has been inspirational. This report and the feedback we have received from assessors proves we are on the right track and that we will become an A-grade Council if we maintain this upward trajectory.”
There is now scope to refocus the Council’s transformation programme on improving relations with iwi and the community. “Improving our capacity and processes has resulted in shorter waiting times for building and resource consents and we are delivering more of our capital works programme than we have done in the past. While we will continue to improve the customer experience across the spectrum of our activities, we also aim to be a council that listens and responds to the community and has strong relationships with strategic partners.”