The Workforce Working Party (WWP) supports achievement of SOLGM’s vision through its identification of the local government sector’s present and future workforce needs, and developing guidance and/or solutions so that chief executives can meet those needs, at reasonable cost.


  • monitor the environment within which local authorities operate and provide the Chief Executive with timely advice on issues that fall within its scope
  • provide sound strategic advice in regards SOLGM’s learning and development and recruitment and retention activities
  • stay informed of, and advise in regards the skill and capability issues raised in the work of other working parties
  • operate, at all times, in accordance with effective and prudent commercial practice
  • build effective working relationships with other sector organisations (e.g. Equip, New Zealand Planning Institute) and private sector providers.

View/download the Workforce Working Party (WWP) Terms of Reference

Current Members:


Vacant as at 1 August 2017

Deputy Chair:
Richard Bird, People and Capability Manager - Rotorua District Council


Katherine Trought, Director Communications, Environment Canterbury

Susan Jones, Human Resources and Administration Manager, Gore District Council

Tracey Mitchell, Development Control Engineer, South Taranaki District Council

Ian Maxwell, Community Services Director - Auckland Council

Stephen Davies, Head of Strategy and Partnership - Auckland Council

Report from Capability Working Party Chair 2015/16

Sheryl Bryant, Palmerston North City Council

The focus of the Capability Working Party (CWP) this year has largely been to review and provide input in to our LGLeadershipPathways initiatives and the programmes that underpin it (LGExecutiveLeaders programme, LGAcceleratedLeadership programme and a corresponding suite of management modules that can be interchanged with the leadership modules); the reinvigoration of the 2016 Future Workforce Forum and SOLGM’s recruitment and retention activities.

The foundation and content of the leadership programme has been based on the competency model that the CWP developed in 2015 (see image of the competency ‘pie’).The model provided a set of clear guidelines as to the specific skills and knowledge that local government professionals need to have or develop in order the lift general capability in the sector in a local government context.

CWP reviewed all modules of the LGAcceleratedLeadership programme in order to ensure that it not only met guidelines on global best practice in terms of leadership development but more importantly reflected the unique context and political nature of the local government sector.

A significant review of our HR Forum, one of our long-standing annual leading practice forums, was undertaken. An analysis of the HR Forum had pointed to sporadic attendance that had been trending down in recent years. Although the Forum received consistently good evaluations and positive feedback a comparison with SOLGM’s nine core Forums during the 13/14 and 14/15 periods had indicated the HR Forum had the lowest attendance.

Richard Bird, People and Capability Manager at Rotorua Lakes Council, was instrumental in helping develop a new learning strategy and model to reinvigorate the Forum, which was rebranded as the Future Workforce Forum and held in mid-June 2016. The fundamental premise was to adopt a more holistic view of Human Resource Management, making direct links between organisational design, talent management, behaviour and culture, human resources and change management and aligning the topics to a set of learning outcomes for the Forum.

Patricia Reade, Transformation Director at Auckland Council, assisted with the production of SOLGM’s new careers video through her review of the script during the production of our ‘Take a closer look at a career in Local Government’ campaign video. This campaign is part of SOLGM’s initiatives area around attracting and retaining quality talent – work that is funded by the Recruitment and Retention subscription which 76 percent of New Zealand councils support.

Note: On 1 July 2016 this working party became the Workforce Working Party.