Financial and Corporate Sustainability Review
At their August meeting Council considered the findings of a review of the organisation’s Financial and Corporate Sustainability, with recommendations directed to the incoming Council for decisions post-election.
KDC Chief Executive Angela Oosthuizen says the review of Kaikōura District Council’s financial sustainability recommends changes to the way it works to meet future demands.
“The recommendations, which include a proposed new operating model that promotes sharing services with external partners, will be considered by the Council next week but no decisions will be made until after the October elections.
“As a small Council with relatively few resources, growing demands on services, and ongoing earthquake-related pressures, the review suggests the Council would not be sustainable in the future if change does not occur.”
The review got underway in 2018 with the support of Government, with a view to understanding the additional pressures created by the earthquakes, considering options for reducing costs and increasing revenue and considering new, more sustainable ways of working. It was part of the Government’s post-earthquake response and support for the district.
“It is important to note that no decisions have been made at this point – the report will be considered next week by our Council and discussed in the community. The incoming Council will review the work carried out and make any decisions for the future. Any decision to go ahead with the changes would require engagement with the community and there would be opportunities for everyone to take part,” Mrs Oosthuizen says.
“The report highlights a lot of issues we already knew existed. Even before the earthquake, the Council found it tough to make ends meet. There’s a lot of work to do to upgrade or improve services to meet the future needs of the community and it’s important we consider options for the future.
“I was heartened to see the endorsement of the work this Council has done since the earthquake in the report. There is a clear recognition that staff have gone above and beyond to serve our community in very challenging circumstances and while dealing with their own personal earthquake experiences – I’d like to take this opportunity to thank staff for their dedication and hard work.”
In summary, the report to be considered next week and directed to the incoming Council includes:
- The recommended development of a new operating model which would include investigation of shared services with other council partners, options for contracting out some services and request of ongoing support from Government during the change process.
- The acknowledgement that KDC already contracts-out some local services, like roading management. The review recommends options be explored for other services.
- Should shared services and contracting options to pursued, the new working model would require some upfront costs to digitise Council systems and allow it to partner with other organisations or authorities.
- The review notes the significant support the Government has provided Kaikōura since the earthquakes. It recommends ongoing support be discussed with Central Government to meet up-front costs and the cost and resourcing of implementation.
- Any change would not happen overnight and existing staff would have a role to play in any transition to a new way of working.
- While recommending the council needs to change the way it works, the report notes there will always be a role for local people on the ground in Kaikōura. This includes customer services roles, planning and regulatory services, administration and works and services/engineering support.
- The acknowledgement that while the nature of the work of KDC staff might eventually change, there remains a need to have capable people based locally to deliver services.
- The recognition that, by contracting out or sharing services, KDC will be able to expand its capability and expertise in order to meet its future obligations. For example, new national water quality standards are coming and the Council needs to have the capacity and capability to meet these
The report was considered and adopted by the Council at its meeting on Thursday 28 August.