Internal Affairs to oversee ICC plan

Invercargill's promised upgrade on coin-operated parking meters is delayed until next year. Photo...
Photo: ODT file
The Department of Internal Affairs has been asked to keep an eye on the Invercargill City Council as it addresses serious concerns about the way it is run.

Despite having accepted the findings of a review into its governance and begun work — described as "proactive" by the department — on a plan to resolve its issues, the council has refused to be drawn on details.

Department ministerial advice, monitoring and operations director Anita Balakrishnan said yesterday it was pleased with progress the council had made following the conclusion of an independent review by Richard Thomson.

He was called in after a letter from the department was sent to the council, highlighting concerns about "significant conflict" in its workings.

Ms Balakrishnan said the council’s draft plan had been received for feedback from the department.

"The council has asked the department to be part of a small governance group that will oversee the delivery of the plan and measure the improvement of council’s performance," she said.

She was delighted all councillors and the mayor had accepted the findings and were "taking responsibility" for improving the council’s performance.

"The council is demonstrating that it is taking proactive steps to restore trust and confidence in its ability to meet the Crown’s expectations of a high-performing council."

She said the council intended to adopt a final plan at its meeting on December 15, and the department would "closely" monitor the implementation of that plan.

Last week, councillors told media they had accepted the contents of the review and it was expected "the council will be able to share its plans for the future with the community soon".

A source told the Otago Daily Times last week councillors had agreed not to discuss the contents of the report until they had assurance from the department they were following the right path.

However, Ms Balakrishnan said the department had not placed any restrictions on the council’s release of the independent review or the plan.

Council chief executive Clare Hadley said yesterday it was working with urgency to confirm the action plan.

There was still work to do on the details, she said.

"While some of the detail of the plan is still being worked through, we’re at a point where we’ll be able to share our intentions with the community early next week.

"We understand the strong community interest in the process and we’re working through this process as quickly as we can."

luisa.girao@odt.co.nz

 

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