Information About the Project Category Winners

McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence ® Supreme Award Winner

The Winner was Hamilton City Council: Council Transforms A City Dump – the Hamilton Gardens Project

This entry also won the Innovation in Council Community Relations category.More details can be found here .

Collective Government Action Category Winner

This category recognises outstanding results that have been achieved through local authorities working with other government agencies.This category could include programmes or projects from any area of local government activity, provided there is a demonstrable community benefit, and the approach is transferable to other local authorities.

In previous years this category was known as the Joined Up Local Government Category. The change in title was to recognise that local authorities also partner with central government agencies, and ensure that these types of partnerships were eligible.

The Winner was Wellington City Council on behalf of the Memorial Park Alliance:The Victoria Street Transformation

About the Entry:

The Victoria Street Transformation is a successful collaboration between Wellington City Council, the New Zealand Transport Agency, and local residents and business groups (though the Memorial Park Alliance).

This collaboration has turned a street that has been described as “a place most people passed through on their way to somewhere else” to an urban environment that people want to spend time.

The collaboration was so successful that the project was built in half the normal time period.

The Judges Said:

We could not help but be impressed by the engagement that all of the partner agencies undertook to bring this project to completion.The affected street is in the heart of the Wellington CBD and also is home to a large number of people.That this has been accomplished with very little adverse reaction is testament to the work the three partners have done.

This entry also provided us with one of the best examples of project management in action, together with a clear set of objectives and indicators to demonstrate success and generate continuous improvement.

This project serves as a salutary reminder that the road corridor is much more than just the part the cars move along.We commend Wellington, the Memorial Park Alliance and NZTA for turning Victoria Street into one of New Zealand’s leading street environments.

This project embodies local and central government collaboration at its best.

Contact Person:

Anna Harley


The 2015 Winner Was:

Environment Canterbury on behalf of the Combined Health and Environmental Risks Programme Control Group: Canterbury’s Waste and Environmental Management Team (WEMT).

Innovation in Organisation and People Development Category Winner

This category recognises innovative approaches to building an exceptional organisational culture or capability through the application of transformational leadership.Entries in this category might be multi-year programmes or one-off projects but they will involve organisational redesign, human resource management, capability development or related aspects.The approach must be capable of transfer to other local authorities.

In 2015 this was entitled the Building Organisational Capability Category

The Winner was Auckland Council:Regulation 18, The National Qualification for Building Control Officers

About the Entry:

The National Qualification for Building Control Officers is an innovative on the job programme that Auckland has developed to help all Building Control Authorities (BCA) meet the requirements that all building control staff hold or be working towards a national qualification by December.

We understand almost 100 Auckland staff have now achieved this qualification and that around 20 other BCAs are now registering staff.

The Judges Said:

This programme has been developed using sound adult learning principles and has clearly benefited from a good evaluation framework and reflective learning to modify the programme as it went along.

Building control is an activity that is of critical importance to the sector and the economy.This programme has clearly inspired staff from across the BCA to obtain the qualification and enhance performance at an individual and team level.With so many other authorities now picking up the qualification it is truly a national qualification.

Contact Person:

Monica Ayres


The 2015 Winner Was:

National Environmental Monitoring Standards - submitted by Auckland Council on behalf of the NEMS Group.

LGFA Transforming Service Delivery Category Winner

[LGFA logo]

This category is for programmes or projects that result in an exceptional service experience through innovative delivery models or the redesign of business processes or practices. The programme or project can relate to any area of council activity which is about delivering improved value for money to ratepayers.The approach must be capable of transfer to other local authorities.

The Winner was Stratford District Council:CxT (Customer Experience Transformation)

Note: Stratford District is the smallest local authority ever to win a category in the SOLGM excellence awards.

About the Entry:

CxT is a story of one of New Zealand’s smaller local authorities implementing system wide change across its building consent activity. It is an example of a ground-up redesign of a service including digitisation, a customer charter, adoption of the national GoShift programme, and the judicious use of metrics.

The Judges said:

In undertaking the CxT initiative, the Stratford District Council gave clear thought upfront as to what success would look like.They report a $200 decrease in costs per consent issued and a 20 percent reduction in costs. The introduction of metrics across the activity and a willingness to learn from the results shows a true performance culture.

CxT recognises that successful service redesign must have a firm groundingin customer views and experiences.Having the customer tell their stories is one of the most powerful agents for change there is, and is very much in keeping with key recommendations from last year’s Rules Reduction Taskforce.

We also noted that the council has taken steps to implement the lessons from the CxT project into its other business processes.CxT represents something that is transferable both between local authorities and within an individual local authority.

Contact Person :

Kate Whareaitu

06 765-0644

The 2015 Winner Was:

Selwyn District Council - Project Helix

Innovation in Council Community Relations Category Winner

This award recognises programmes, projects or initiatives that demonstrate outstanding results through innovative means of community engagement or community empowerment.Entries may come from any area of local government activity, but must have community engagement, empowerment, or partnership as a key aspect.Entries may include successful collaboration with private or community organisations.The approach taken must be transferable to other local authorities.

As in 2015, this category had the largest number of entries.

The Winner was Hamilton City Council: Council Transforms A City Dump – the Hamilton Gardens Project

About the Entry:

The entry tells the story of a successful transformation of a piece of marginal land into an internationally renowned garden complex. The entry focusses on the processes through which the council secured community buyin, worked with 18 independent trusts and countless volunteers to deliver a truly transformative project.

The Judges said:

The transformation of a city dump into an internationally renowned tourist facility would not have been possible without community support, a successful fund-raising programme and a passionate staff. The project’s governance framework is an exemplar for all projects where councils and communities work together and for the use of trusts in general. Likewise the Gardens show the benefits of building coalitions of the committed – both amongst the community and the staff.

The result, the Hamilton Gardens, are a national treasure.While impressive in itself, our award recognises the engagement and harnessing of community goodwill that has gone into making this national treasure and ensuring its ongoing future.

Contact person:

Lance Vervoort

07 838 6404

The 2015 Winner Was:

Gisborne District Council – Gigatown.

Highly Commended Citation:Waitaki District Council – The Rebuilding of Haven Street

About the Entry:

Haven Street is a main route into the town of Moeraki. The street has a long history of subsidence and in August 2013 a large portion subsided and had to be closed in favour of an alternate route.

This entry is an example of what is sometimes called co-production, where the community identify a need and join together with the council to fund and more particularly deliver the service.Council supported the 80 residents to rebuild Haven Street to the required standard.

The Judges said:

The experiences of local authorities in other jurisdictions tells us that increasing use of co-production approaches is one of the strategies that local government is using to counter the impacts of austerity.

The rebuilding of Haven Street is a textbook example of co-production – including the harnessing of a group of passionate locals to deliver something that might otherwise not have happened.Haven Street reminds us that successful asset management is not just about the numbers, but has a human face.

Highly Commended Citation: Rotorua Lakes Council – Te Arawa Partnership Programme

About the Entry:

The Te Arawa Partnership Project established an innovative, strategic and enduring partnership between Te Arawa (the predominant iwi confederation within the Rotorua District) and the Rotorua Lakes Council.

While partnerships between local authorities and M?ori are not new, most focus on environmental and resource management opportunities. The Te Arawa Partnership Programme extends across most of the councils activities and joins up the strategic goals and aspirations of the council and the tangata whenua in the Rotorua Community.

The Judges said:

We commend Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Arawa for the obvious degree of commitment and trust that each has shown in the process of establishing this partnership.While the model itself serves as an example for others to follow, the key lessons that the sector can take from this entry lie are to start processes from the perspective of what is possible, ensure both parties are empowered, and being willing to adapt as the process develops.

It appears that the partnership framework is now well infused into the council’s governance structures and processes.We look forward to seeing how the Council and Te Arawa make the model work on a day to day basis.

Innovation in Policy and Regulatory Development and Implementation Category Award Winner

This award recognises the development of robust and effective evidence-based policy or local regulatory initiatives.Any policy, plan or regulatory initiative is eligible for this award.Entrants will be expected to clearly demonstrate their initiative was based on the application of the principles of effective policy or regulatory design and implementation, development of an evidence base and that the initiative is transferable to other local authorities.

This is the first year this category has been awarded.

The Winner is:

Grey District Council, Project Freedom Camping

About the Entry;

Tourism, both internal and external is a major business area for the West Coast.With tourism comes economic benefit, with some degree of social and environmental risk.

Project Freedom Camping represents an effort on the part of one of New Zealand’s smaller local authorities to reduce the latter in a way that does not compromise New Zealand’s international reputation and the benefits district receives, while reducing the harmful effects.

The council essentially changed its approach to identify the groups it needed to target, publicise both the level of compliant and non-compliant activity and work with suppliers and the relevant industry groups.The council took the bold decision that addressing this issue as an enforcement issue alone was both ineffective and damaging to the country as a whole.

The Judges Said:

We commend Grey District for taking a bold systems-based approach to a topical regulatory issue that has applications well beyond freedom camping.Changing an approach to a social and environmental issue that is both long-standing and growing is never an easy decision.We commend the council for taking an effective modern regulatory policy approach - identifying the harm and the contributors; developing an evidence base; providing education at source; and moving the emphasis to positive behaviours.

Contact Person :

Steven May

Phone: 0272626740

Some Background Information about the Awards

What are the Awards?

SOLGM has held the Excellence Awards since 1999.Entries are open to any local authority or Council Controlled Organisation (or groups of thereof).

Recent Supreme Winners include:

2011- Greater Wellington, The Wellington Region Greater Progress Index

2012-ATEED in partnership with Auckland Council and other Auckland CCOs, Auckland’s Rugby World Cup 2011 Programme

2013-Auckland Council, Draft Unitary Plan

2015-Selwyn District, Project Helix

(there were no awards in 2014)

This is the second year that the awards have been sponsored by McGredy Winder, and the first year that the Local Government Funding Agency have sponsored a category.

How many entries were received?

SOLGM received 31 entries this year.

Projects of all sizes have been entered.They came from across the range of local government activity – building control to roading.The back office functions that the public don’t see – such as human resource management and finance were also represented among the entries

Who judged them?

The entries were judged by a panel of five, consisting of:

  • Lyn Provost, Auditor-General
  • Peter Winder, Director, McGredy Winder
  • Michael Willis, consultant and Former President of SOLGM
  • Mark Butcher, Chief Executive, Local Government Funding Agency
  • Helen Algar, Consultant, representing IPANZ

Note – Mr Winder declared a conflict of interest in, and did not assess, one of the entries from Environment Canterbury, and one of the entries from Auckland Council.

How were entries judged?

All entries were judged on the following criteria:

  • strategic context – what was the background to the entry, what issue or need drove the entry, and what was the evidence base to support that need?
  • project management – how well was the project planned and managed?The best entries also told us what process the council(s) involved had put in place for measuring the success
  • relationship management – how did the council get views from or resolve the concerns of people who were interested in or affected by the issue or problem at hand.
  • continuous improvement – what lessons did the council learn, and how is that learning being used across the council and
  • project success – did the project actually deliver results?While a result for the council itself counted, the best entries demonstrated a result for the community.The best entries also had independent, verifiable evidence of the result. The judges also considered whether the results and the lessons learned were transferrable to the sector.That is to say, that the the project something that other councils could pick up and use, or build on.

What about the standard of entries?

The five judges were generally impressed with the standard of entries. They consider that the entries have raised the bar for the standard of performance New Zealanders could and should expect from their local authority. The judges were impressed by the amount of effort and obvious passion displayed in the entries.

How will the lessons from the winners be shared?

Lessons from the winners, and many other entries will be used to inform development and redevelopment of guides and training for the sector.

For example, several of the entries in the council-community relations category will be asked to present to an upcoming event on community engagement.

What were the winning scores ?

Details of the scoring of individual projects will not be made publicly available.

Why the new category?

Local policies and regulations shape significant parts of our daily lives – when and where we can purchase alcohol, where we can exercise our dog, what uses of land are permitted and the like.SOLGM wanted to recognise the role that policies and regulations play in our lives by recognising those planning and regulatory processes that are innovative and effective.