The Business Performance Working Party (BPP) supports SOLGM’s vision by promoting high standards of financial management, performance measurement and management, asset management, and the use of these disciplines as drivers of business transformation.

Responsibilities:

  • develop and present sector responses on issues in response to developments in the policy and operational environment, or in anticipation of such developments. Development of such responses may be in conjunction with other bodies (for example, Local Government New Zealand, the New Zealand Planning Institute etc)
  • identify good practice in local authority planning and disseminate this to the local government sector
  • identify training and professional development needs relevant to planning, and develop or commission programmes to meet those needs
  • build relationships with those stakeholders with interests in, or the ability to influence, planning policy and practice in local authorities.

View/download the Business Performance Working Party Terms of Reference.pdf

Current Members:

Chair:

Jim Palmer, Chief Executive - Waimakariri District Council

Deputy Chair:

Kevin Ramsey, Group Manager, Corporate Finance and Property - Auckland Council

Members:

Diane Brandish, Head of Financial Management - Christchurch City Council

Martin Fletcher, Chief Financial Officer - Marlborough District Council

Christine Jones, General Manager – Growth and Infrastructure - Tauranga City Council

Mike Nield, Director Corporate Services - Taranaki Regional Council

Bronda Smith, Chief Financial Officer - Central Hawkes Bay District Council

Hamish Waugh, General Manager – Infrastructure - Manawatu District Council.

2017/18 Report from Business Performance Working Party Chair

Jim Palmer, Chief Executive, Waimakariri District Council

This has been another exceptionally busy year for the Business Performance Working Party (BPP).

Conducting a rating review calls for a mix of the right political, economic, legal and tax advice. It’s not always the easiest needle to thread yet, surprisingly, no one has ever produced any guidance on undertaking a rating review. This year BPP rectified that with guidance prepared in conjunction with a consortium led by Stephen Halliwell of Working Smarter.

The rating review guide was a topic on the agenda of both of our Leading Practice Forums. This year’s Funding and Rating Forum was held in Christchurch in October and was the first of these to be held outside Wellington since the Global Financial Crisis. The experiment of moving outside Wellington was a success with the event selling out, and we will repeat this in the coming year. The Civic Financial Services Strategic Finance Forum was also (by coincidence) held in Christchurch and likewise sold out — with 138 registrants it was the biggest single Forum for 10 years.

There was a record level of entries into this year’s McGredy Winder SOLGM Management Excellence Awards®. As a group we’ve been thinking about how to better capture and harness the lessons from the excellent entries. Some, especially the engagement stories, are woven into our Leading Practice Forums. We’d like to see more of these featured in this way, and next year we will be trialling the idea with a dedicated Collaboration Forum at the end of November.

It has been a busy year on the legislative front despite the hiatus in political processes, due to the 2017 General Election and the associated coalition formation. We’ve been involved in the Dyson Bill fix to the Rates Rebates Act, the changes to development contributions in the Well-being Bill and various matters in the Regulatory Systems Bill. As the 2017/18 year ended we were involved in a further look at the governance and accountability arrangements for CCOs.

We have considered the future of New Zealand involvement in the Australian Local Government Performance Excellence Programme (ALGPEP) at several points during the year. It’s interesting information that many councils could do more with. I welcome the SOLGM initiative to bring the participating councils together in one or more user forums.

I understand that SOLGM is investigating complementing the programme by developing a common set of outcome indicators. It will be important that this work be informed by the approaches councils take to their own monitoring of community outcomes, as well as initiatives such as the Quality of Life project.

I thank Kevin Ramsey, Diane Brandish, Martin Fletcher, Christine Jones, Mike Nield, Bronda Smith and Hamish Waugh for their contributions to the Working Party during the past year. The support of the staff at the SOLGM National Office is also gratefully acknowledged.