Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) is seeking community feedback about a proposal to join a new council-controlled organisation (CCO) with other regional councils in New Zealand.
“The 16 regional and unitary councils in New Zealand already work together on areas of shared interest, and now wish to take this arrangement a step further by creating a shared services company,” said HBRC Chief Executive, James Palmer.
He said Hawke’s Bay’s involvement in the new CCO would help to improve local outcomes, improve access to specialist and expensive resources, reduce costs, and share risks.
“Each regional council is facing increased demands from central Government to deliver against a range of reform packages,” says Mr Palmer.
“Like other organisations that compete in the same market for talent, we’re struggling to attract and retain staff, and carry out the full complement of our services effectively. That’s why our preferred approach is to take part-ownership in a new shared-service company. We would access solutions specifically designed for regional councils, and people with specialist knowledge in IT, regulatory services, biodiversity and land management functions.
The CCO would result in the restructuring of Regional Software Holdings Limited, a current CCO created by six regional councils that serves a similar purpose.
As an extension of the current model operated by RSHL, the new CCO will provide a framework for collaboration between the shareholders and across the regional sector, Council said.
“It will support the procurement or development of shared solutions in a manner that provides greater consistency in how councils operate their core processes. This model will provide a more cost effective alternative than individual councils can achieve on their own.”
“The CCO will operate by facilitating collaborative initiatives between councils and through managed contractual arrangements. The initial scope of activities for the company is limited to pre-existing shared service programmes.
“A business case will be developed for any additional service that is not part of the original company. This will be approved by the shareholders prior to any new service/s proceeding. The investigation of any new services will be fully funded by the councils that wish to promote that service.”
HBRC is asking for community feedback on the proposal to take part in the new CCO from 29 April until 15 May.
A public hearing will also be held on 1 June and a final decision made on 29 June, Mr Palmer said.