Auditor-General’s report, Long-term plans
Auditor-General’s report, Long-term plans: Our audits of councils’ consultation documents
The Auditor-General’s report, Long-term plans: Our audits of councils’ consultation documents was presented to the House of Representatives today.
Councils are required to produce consultation documents to consult with their communities as part of their long-term planning process. Consultation documents are expected to concisely and clearly present the significant issues, plans, and projects that councils intend to include in their long-term plans.
This report is based on our audits of councils’ 2018-28 consultation documents. It is a mix of reflection, commentary, and good-practice guidance. We would like councils to use this report to challenge themselves on where they can improve, both in how they produce a consultation document and the processes they use to engage with their community.
In 2015, we identified certain matters in consultation documents that meant that, in our view, several councils had missed an opportunity to engage effectively with their communities. We expected – and encouraged – councils to make improvements in their 2018-28 consultation documents.
We considered all 2018-28 consultation documents to be fit for purpose. However, many of the opportunities for improvement noted in our 2015 report have not been realised. In our view, there are still opportunities for councils to improve the content, structure, and presentation of their consultation documents and we encourage councils to do so.
We identified four examples of effective consultation documents. We encourage all councils to consider the examples from Hauraki District Council, Waimate District Council, Horowhenua District Council, and Gisborne District Council as they plan their future consultation documents.
Communities are diverse, with different needs and interests. It is important for each council to understand the different groups within their community so that they can present their consultation documents in a way that all can understand and respond to.