High marks for council in first ever rating

Matamata-Piako District Council was one of 18 councils to put their hand up in the first independent quality rating of councils initiated to develop best practice in local government. We scored a BBB (see Local Government Excellence Programme for the full report).

To earn the Local Government New Zealand rating, Matamata-Piako’s Mayor, Chief Executive and staff, as well as community representatives, were interviewed by independent experts over a two-day period along with a review of many of Council’s processes and documents. They were questioned on four areas of the Council’s operations: 

  • governance, leadership and strategy;
  • financial decision-making and transparency;
  • service delivery and asset management; and
  • communicating and engaging with the public and business.

Participating councils could be given an overall rating from AAA to C.  “We were rated with a BBB, which under the independent bench marking process indicates areas of strong performance and all round competency and was very high relative to others on the program,” Mayor Jan Barnes said. “We were pleased with the mark but it’s not time to rest on our laurels.

“We will now take these results and develop an action plan around those areas where improvement is possible so we can show measurable improvement when the ratings are redone in three years’ time.”

The Council’s strengths were in financial decision-making and transparency, where the assessors commented that it “maintained high standards across this priority area”. They said the Council also had strong governance procedures, risk assessment and management across the organisation.

In managing growth in the district, the council needs to have a clear and simple vision to deal with the pressures of growth versus the protection of its high quality soils, the report said.

The CouncilMARK™ local government excellence programme is a system designed to demonstrate and improve the value and services of councils by measuring indicators across leadership, financial decision-making, service delivery and community engagement. 

The system is set up to give communities a clear and independent picture of how well their council is performing in serving the community, and to give councils information on where they can improve.

Visit www.councilmark.co.nz for more information on the excellence programme.