Local Government New Zealand has issued details of a new independent standards system that measures the performance of local authorities.
The local government standards system will demonstrate and improve the value and services of councils by measuring qualitative and quantitative indicators across leadership, finance, service delivery and community engagement.
Councils participating in the excellence programme will be assessed every three years, given a standard from A to C, and the results publicised.
Councils will discuss results with communities and use the assessments to plan improvements.
LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says the system was being set up to give communities a clear and independent picture of how well their council was performing in serving the community.
“This will provide for communities a thorough and trusted standard for council performance. They will now know that their council meets an A, B, or C standard,” Yule explains.
“The system will also help councils lift the quality of services over time so they can deliver top value for communities. They will now know how they perform in dozens of services and areas that are important to communities.
“The new system will be a gold standard, providing assurance of performance in critical and relevant aspects of council operation.”
“The long-term result of this standard will be top value councils for communities – value that can be measured, demonstrated and constantly improved.”
Yule says LGNZ was in discussions with councils who would join the programme for its inaugural year. Assessments will start later in the year, with results published by early 2017.
The programme has been developed in response to the 2015 New Zealand Local Government Survey, which showed there is an opportunity to lift and demonstrate the service and value councils deliver to their communities.
LGNZ is currently organising a stand-alone board to oversee the system and contract assessors.