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Invercargill City Council announces action plan to improve governance

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Invercargill City Council has put in place an Action Plan to make governance improvements and focus on future progress for the city.

The Action Plan is the result of a Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) letter highlighting concerns about governance. DIA requested assurance the Council was taking proactive measures to address the concerns and a range of specific actions - one of which was to carry out an independent governance review.

The Council unanimously adopted the findings of the review and agreed to form an Action Plan to address the issues raised at its meeting on 12 November 2020.

The Action Plan focuses on three key areas:

1. Addressing the foundations through the appointment of two External Appointees to Council and developing a clear set of delegations for the Deputy Mayor

2. Strengthening the team through a review of strategic projects, mentoring support, training for elected members and the development of media protocols

3. Measuring progress through workshops and annual evaluations to make sure the council stays on track.

The independent governance review, carried out by Richard Thomson, includes an overview of the key themes affecting governance at the Council and sets out a range of recommendations to make improvements for the future.

The Action Plan captures all of the recommendations and sets a clear path to address the issues raised.

The review found that "there are significant problems with governance" at ICC. It discusses the governance matters under seven key themes: a leadership void; the impact of a new CEO; election of Councillor (now Deputy Mayor) Nobby Clark; breakdown of CEO and Mayoral relationship; continuing ‘stone in the shoe’ issues; relationships between councillors; and the general state of the city.

ICC Chief Executive Clare Hadley says the review raised some challenging issues both for elected members and staff.

"What’s important now is that we focus on what needs to be done to make improvements for the good of the city. The Council has unanimously agreed an Action Plan, which sets out a range of positive initiatives that we must work on together.

"We are focused on working together as a team to provide assurance to our community and to DIA that we have taken stock of the issues and are committed to addressing the challenges facing us. I will work with both staff and elected members to support the process, offering regular progress updates to the community and working to restore confidence in the Council."

Mayor Tim Shadbolt acknowledged the process has been a challenging one, both for himself and others around the Council table.

"Now we’re looking ahead and we’ve agreed to work together to make the changes needed. This includes some additional support mechanisms which will help with the smooth running of the council, as well as seeking the guidance of our new external appointees.

"Everyone around the Council table wants to do right by our city. We are committed to the people of Invercargill and we’ve now agreed a strong plan that means we can get on with doing a great job for our community."

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