Ruapehu District Council has become one of a handful of councils to receive a second CouncilMARK™ report, and have been lauded by the programme’s Independent Assessment Board for the way they have used the first report to drive improvement for ratepayers.
CouncilMARK™ is an independent assessment programme that assesses how councils are performing and is designed to support individual councils to improve the service and value they provide. Councils receive an overall performance rating from the Independent Assessment Board (IAB), from C to AAA, as well as commentary on their performance across four key areas.
In awarding the council a BBB rating, up from a BB in 2017, the IAB highlighted improvement in their leadership and financial decision-making, but also called out a need to address aging infrastructure in the face of increasing drinking water and environmental standards.
“The first thing we saw in Ruapehu is that both the council and community have got very strong leaders in Mayor Don Cameron and Chief Executive Clive Manley,” said IAB Chair, Toby Stevenson.
“They are genuinely motivated to make a positive impact on the lives of their residents, and their strong working relationships with each other, council staff, elected members and residents is a testament to that.”
“Their leadership will be vital in addressing some of the issues that the report finds, particularly around renewing aging three waters infrastructure.”
“It’s a four pronged fork where the infrastructure needs attention, national environmental and other standards are rising, community expectations are high, but resources are relatively limited. So the council will need to strike a balance in addressing each of these factors in its asset management work.”
“This CouncilMARK™ report will help to focus their attention on how they address infrastructure renewal, but at the same time it affirms that the council is doing a lot well, particularly around community services, managing debt, financial reporting and enabling housing solutions.”
LGNZ President, Stuart Crosby gave the council kudos for undertaking the assessment, to provide the council, residents and ratepayers with a clear picture of where they’re succeeding and where more attention is needed.
“The way Ruapehu has approached the CouncilMARK™ programme is a great example for other councils,” said Mr Crosby.
“The council joined the programme because they wanted to gain an independent review of their services and offering to the community, and then to use the findings to deliver improved services for ratepayers.”
“The report has confirmed that they’re doing a lot of things very well, but like other councils, the combination of aging infrastructure, rising standards and limited resources is challenging.”
“We are confident that with the right support, both from central government and LGNZ, that Ruapehu will rise to meet this challenge, as well as others such as affordable and social housing,” he concluded.