The 2015 New Zealand Local Government Survey found residents and businesses had a low awareness of the full services councils provide and the value they bring. There was low opinion of councils in the areas that matter most to people: Governance, leadership and strategy, Financial decision-making and transparency, Service delivery and asset management, Communicating and engaging.
The Programme addresses each of these priority areas and has been developed by Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ), who represents all 78 councils across the country. The Programme seeks to increase the public’s knowledge of the work councils are doing, and to support individual councils to further improve and demonstrate the value they provide to their communities. The Local Government Excellence Programme incorporates an independent assessment system to assess how councils are performing and the value they are delivering. It employs expert independent assessors across the four priority areas above, who will report to an independent assessment board responsible for the Programme’s assessment system. Councils will receive an overall performance rating, with commentary on their performance. Councils will also be assessed on each priority area and provided with information on their strengths and weaknesses. It is then up to each council to review their results, develop an action plan and engage with their communities on the issues that matter locally. Councils can engage with their communities to decide how services and value can best be improved, complementing existing council information, advice, long-term and annual plans and activities. Assessment will then be repeated every three years to monitor progress.