Monday, July 15, 2024

Christchurch council claims culture change

Christchurch City Council Chief Executive, Dawn Baxendale (pictured), has provided a final update on the actions Council has taken in response to the recommendations of an advisory group set up to help lift the organisation’s performance.

In early 2020, Council set up an External Advisory Group (EAG) to provide independent, objective and evidence-based advice to elected members on how Council could achieve savings and perform better for residents.

The EAG’s report, which contained a series of recommendations for change, was presented to the Chief Executive in late 2020 and its findings shared with the Mayor and Councillors as part of the 2021-31 Long Term Plan (LTP) process.

The EAG’s report was initially kept confidential as it included a number of recommendations relating to Council staff and their employment. However, a redacted version was made public in June 2021.

On Friday, a report is was released that outlines the actions that Council has taken in response to the EAG’s recommendations. This final closure  report will be considered by the elected Council when it meets on Thursday.

“I want to thank the members of the EAG for their commitment and the work they have done to help shape the Council for the better. The bulk of their recommendations have been acted on and we are already seeing positive results,’’ Mrs Baxendale says.

“The EAG had a particular focus on reviewing our spending and identifying potential cost savings. It’s worth noting that their recommendations reflect how the organisation was operating two years ago – since then we’ve made significant improvements to how we operate, with corresponding reductions in our expenditure.”

“As a consequence, Standard and Poor’s has recognised our stronger budgetary performance and positive outlook, and has indicated that there is ‘at least a one-in-three chance’ that they could raise our ratings over the next two years.”

“My focus now remains squarely on driving continuous improvement and ensuring that we deliver the services and facilities our residents expect in an affordable, sustainable way,’’ Mrs Baxendale says.

“The culture of the Council is changing. We have restructured and as an organisation we are becoming efficient, more business-like, and more customer-focused.

“The Executive Leadership Team has been working hard to ensure we are focusing our resources in the right place and working together to support the Council’s strategic priorities.

“There is still work to be done recognising the continued dynamic environment but the actions that have been taken in response to the EAG’s recommendations shows that we are making positive progress and becoming a more agile and responsive organisation that delivers for the residents of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula,” Mrs Baxendale says.

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