Collaboration delivers savings and benefits

The Otago Regional Council is working collaboratively with other regional councils and organisations over many issues, including dam safety measures.

A recently tabled ORC report notes that central government has been promoting greater use of collaboration and sharing of services, to ''encourage greater cost efficiency in local government''.

The ORC worked with the territorial councils within and outside Otago on ''various projects and initiatives'', and the report highlights cost savings and many other benefits, including high-level information sharing.

The report aimed to inform the council of the collaborative work that was being done with others.

The ORC, as an accredited building consent authority, undertook ''certain dam safety and building control functions'' on behalf of Environment Southland and West Coast Regional Council, under transfer agreements.

This meant that rather than all three councils needing to be accredited and incurring the associated costs, a cost-sharing arrangement was in place for the ORC to undertake these functions.

The ORC also acted as the administering authority for the Otago Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) group and the Co-ordinating Executive Group (CEG).

The CDEM comprised the chairman, mayors and chief executives of the five Otago councils.

The CEG comprised the chief executives and senior staff of the five Otago councils and emergency services.

The ORC provided the Otago group controller, who worked with the territorial authorities and other agencies such as the police and fire services.

ORC staff also participated in the group's risk reduction and readiness and response committees.

The ORC is also working with Environment Canterbury (ECan) on cross-boundary animal pest issues, particularly wallabies.

This collaborative approach aimed to ensure ''efficient delivery of pest management programmes'' for both regions.

And the ORC was continuing to work with other South Island regional councils and other agencies on a a pest management plan for the South Island.

Once developed, this plan would ''inform a review'' of the ORC's own pest management plan for Otago.

ORC also worked with ECan to develop a strategy for management of the Lower Waitaki River Control Scheme, which lay partly in Otago and partly in Canterbury.

The ORC was now working with ECan to implement the management approach, share technical knowledge and efficiently deliver scheme works.

The ORC's long-term plan also includes establishment of a contaminated sites regional liaison group, a centralised database for regional use.

A first meeting of the liaison group was scheduled to be held this month and the scope of the database would be discussed, the report noted.

The ORC also worked collaboratively with many other groups in other key areas such as natural hazards, including working with the Dunedin City Council to develop a Natural Hazard Risk Management Strategy for South Dunedin. Other areas of collaboration included a stock truck effluent working party, cost-sharing for elections and the LAWA (Land, Air, Water Aotearoa) internet site, which provided up-to-date validated information for the public.

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