Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Auckland considers local board power play

Auckland Council is considering a proposal to increase the decision-making power of its 21 local boards.

“This proposal recognises the findings of the governance review which started several years ago,” said Finance and Performance Committee Chair, Councillor Desley Simpson.

“Through that process local boards and communities have told us that they believe local boards are best placed to make decisions on what community services and assets should be provided in their local areas.

“We are now keen to hear what Aucklanders think.”

Currently, the Governing Body (Mayor and Councillors) is responsible for decisions on the general location of new local service assets such as parks and libraries, investment in existing assets and facilities, and the allocation of funding to deliver services.

Local boards are then responsible for decisions in specific locations of new local service assets and facilities, and over the services and programmes delivered in their local area using this funding, including some decisions on keeping facilities fit-for-purpose.

The proposal aims to change these responsibilities so that local boards would:

  • have greater direct influence on local community services such as libraries, community facilities and local parks;
  • be responsible for the prioritising services within the overall local community service funding envelope allocated to them;
  • be less reliant on advocating to the Governing Body to achieve local outcomes aligned to local community priorities.

Boards will also have the ability to partner with neighbouring local boards to develop multi-board services, Council said in a statement.

Changes would be rolled out over several years starting from 1 July 2022 when local boards become responsible for decisions on most local community services within existing budgets, it said.

“This will be followed by proposals to be worked through in the next 10-year Budget to allocate additional funding to enable new or improved services to be progressed.”

“This new way of working will also be reflected in the local boards’ three-year plans, which outline initiatives and projects to achieve a set of focus areas their communities have said are important.

“Local boards develop these plans in consultation with the community. They are aspirational and require local boards to advocate to the Governing Body to support and fund their requests – decisions they will now be able to make themselves,” Council said.

It is anticipated that between $2 million and $2.8 million a year will be required from 2022/2023 to cover the increased cost of providing local boards with advice and decision-making support. This costing will include resources to help boards to develop more strategic and forward-looking local board plans that will deliver even better community outcomes, it said.

Go here to find out more about the proposed changes and ways to have your say or review the supporting material before providing your feedback. 

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