Council Cements Community Engagement Guidelines

The Hurunui District Council has reviewed and adopted its new Significance and Engagement Policy, which guides the council when determining whether a particular decision is ‘significant’ and how to engage, inform or consult with the community as part of the process.

The policy was reviewed as part of the council’s Long Term Plan 2018-2028 process.  The review was conducted by a council working group made up of Councillors Harris, Fletcher, McLean and Daly.

A main outcome of the review is that the policy will now provide additional guidance to help decision makers with the process of ascertaining the level of significance, as well as what level of engagement is required. Recommendations from Council Officers will move away from a ‘yes/no’ structure and will include perceived levels of significance and engagement.

Hurunui District Council Public Services Manager, Audrey van der Monde, says that while the discussion between councillors will continue to be the most important part of the decision making process, the new guidance around the significance level of a decision will assist the council to make more informed decisions.

“Every report councillors receive will now include a perceived significance level and a recommended level of engagement from the international engagement spectrum, IAP2.”

The amendments to the policy will now become standard in council report documentation.  Discussion and debate between councillors at monthly meetings will however, continue to be the main contribution to a final decision being made.