ORC outsourcing consents in ‘peak’ times

Photo: Supplied
Photo: supplied
The Otago Regional Council is looking for outside help to process resource consents.

However, the council said it was well-equipped to conduct the core council business and it only used consultants in special circumstances.

Acting consents manager Alexandra King said the council was able to carry out the "core regulatory function" of the council — and was seeking resource consent processing services for those times when there was "peak workload", or the council was the applicant.

"Over 92% of applications are processed by internal staff and all applications are processed within legal timeframes," Ms King said.

"If someone from the panel is used for consent processing, applicants are informed about this."

For the past three years, the council had used consultant services for some resource consent processing and was now tendering for the services as the present contracts expired.

Retaining the services of external companies to use on a limited, or as-needed basis, was standard practice for councils across the country, she said.

The council employed 19.7 fulltime-equivalent (FTE) staff in the consents team, all of whom processed consent applications.

That level of staffing was able to process more than 1000 consents a year, Ms King said.

Last year, the council received 957 applications.

"The consents team is well resourced to process resource consents and has spent significant time ensuring processes are time and cost-efficient and customer-focused," she said.

"The consents team is focused on delivering their service in an efficient manner and has responded well to changes in workloads which the wider local government sector has seen during the past five years."