Auditor General Finds Council Processes Robust

Date:
Sep 10, 2007

An accusation that the Queenstown Lakes District Council's consultation processes for establishing a new organisation to deliver regulatory and planning services was a 'sham' has been quashed by the Office of the Auditor General.

In May the Auditor-General announced a review of the council's decision to accept the outcome of a service delivery review, establish a council-controlled organisation and to facilitate the purchase of CivicCorp by that organisation.

"In addition to the concerns of one ratepayer, an interest in the process, as a case study was expressed by the Auditor-General and we were more than happy to be involved," QLDC chief executive Duncan Field said.

The review, released today, stated: "Overall, we found that the council followed good and appropriate processes."

In summary the Office of the Auditor General found:

  • The council used 'appropriately robust and transparent process' to determine the future delivery structure of CivicCorp.
  • It complied with the legal requirements when establishing the council-controlled organisation to deliver the new regulatory and planning service.
  • The purchase of CivicCorp followed good process.

The report discussed the need for confidentiality around negotiations and how this affected the council?s ability to consult with its community.

The report stated: "under these circumstances, more community engagement was not practical, but the council was able to rely on its awareness of community views gathered through the earlier service delivery review."

The report further praised the council for a: well documented approach; proper analysis of all options and timeliness in terms of preparing for the end of long term contracts in 2008.

"This is a clear endorsement of having well qualified consultants giving sound advice to council through what was a complex negotiation," Mr Field said.

The council would take on board suggestions that the council should better record coverage of the community's views in reports to the council. However the report did acknowledge that the majority of submissions received by the council were in favour of bringing regulatory functions back closer within the council's control.

"The exercise has been extremely worthwhile in that it gives the council and the community a strong level of confidence in the birth of our new regulatory and planning organisation," Mr Field said.

The publication of the report today signaled an end to the CivicCorp era.

Lakes Environmental was now successfully up and running with a board of directors and had, through the statement of intent, an agreed way forward with the council and the community.

"It's a great boost to know that having been placed under the spotlight, the new organisation has come through with flying colours," Mr Field said.

ENDS

For further information please contact Duncan Field 03 441 0499.

By: Tamah