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Committee recommends action on Communications Audit

4 September 2012

Committee recommends action on Communications Audit

Christchurch City Council's Community, Recreation and Culture Committee today recommended the Council take a range of actions in response to the Communications Audit Review.

Committee Chair Yani Johanson says: "These issues are critical for our city in normal times, and even more so as we recover and rebuild after the earthquakes.

"The Communication Audit Report commissioned by the Mayor and Chief Executive raised a number of areas that needed improvement. Good communications, engagement and transparency are essential for a good recovery. I am hopeful that a number of actions today recommended by the Committee to Council will help change the culture of the organisation to serve our citizens better than before."

The Committee's recommendations include:
* Staff facilitate a workshop for the Council to agree a new vision and recovery priorities for the city. Staff would then work on a communications strategy to inform residents about his vision and priorities.
* Committee chairs have responsibility to speak formally on portfolio matters and the Charter be amended to allow them to speak on issues relevant to the committee terms of reference.
* Staff initiate a process for monitoring and responding to requests in a timely manner.
* A working party be set up to review current Communication Policy, Your Council Your Voice resource and the Civics Education Resource.
* Staff to arrange a meeting with Community Boards, CERA, EQC, CCDU, SCIRT, UDS partners and Cancern with the aim of producing a draft action plan on how governance and communications can work more effectively and coherently.
* Staff to prepare a draft engagement strategy, including regular public forums.
* A working party be set up to look at online communications tools.
* Additional regular meetings are requested with key recovery agencies.
* Fortnightly meetings are requested with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister and Associate Minister.
* Council request the CEO establish a Councillors' office to provide administrative support and assistance to Councillors.
* The CEO Subcommittee review the CEO's performance agreement and set KPIs on improving delivery of communications and public engagement.
* Council workshops are open to the public as a default and are only held in public excluded where a good justification exists.

The Committee considered a number of other reports at today's meetings and recommendations to Council are outlined below.

Committee responds to residents
The Committee heard deputations from two groups of residents and made the following recommendations to the Council as a result:
* That the Council have a discussion with CERA about the possibility of retaining the red-zoned W.A. Sutton House in Templar Street, Richmond, following a deputation from the property owner and others.
* That the Council urgently asks the CEO for a delay in the demolition of the A&C sections of 36 Welles Street so the buildings can be considered for a Central City arts project.

Heritage reports considered
The Committee considered reports on number of heritage matters and will recommend that the Council:
* Transfer $300,000 from the 2012/13 Heritage Incentive Grant fund pool to the Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Buildings Fund Trust for distribution within Christchurch.
* Approve a Heritage Incentive Grant of up to $240,000 for conservation and maintenance work for the McKenzie and Willis façade at 236 Tuam Street, subject to a conservation covenant.
* Advise the Ministry of Culture and Heritage that Christchurch City Council's current heritage work programme supports the retention of heritage buildings.

Tsunami siren report received
The Committee received a report on Tsunami Sirens and Civil Defence and recommended the Council defer the staff recommendation to install additional tsunami sirens until after a Council workshop is held.

The full Committee agenda, include staff reports referred to above, are available online at:

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