Project teams are in the depths of developing their Long Term Plans (LTPs), a three yearly process which sets out council priorities for the next ten years.

By now you should have finalised all of the key service level decisions, have a draft financial and infrastructure strategy and some idea of what the inclusions for the consultation document are. Between now and the new year you should be preparing your final quality assurance and sense checks, making sure the financial and infrastructure plans line up and ensuring elected members are on board. 

Having an LTP that is based on the best available information and assumptions and really engages the community in the process is important. Councils should end up with an LTP that sets out priorities for the next ten years, how much it will cost, and how it will be funded. Community consultation is an important part of the process.    

“Meaningful community engagement is the crucial part of the process said SOLGM’s Chief Advisor, Raymond Horan.    

“There are some great co-design examples to draw on such as Gisborne District Council’s WTF (What’s the Future), a bright, colourful and provocative consultation document that won the 2018  SOLGM Great CD Competition (in 2018). 

“Gisborne’s consultation document used clever design and a knowledge of the audience and their interests. It’s an easy read, and the financial strategy was simple and effective.  

“An LTP is a balance of what has gone before with the future direction of the community”. 

SOLGM’s LTP guidance includes a suite of five guides all aimed at covering the various aspects of the LTPs, including step by step process guides, a content overview, information on performance management, financial management and how to write an effective consultation document.  

The resources have evolved over time and are reviewed every three years to reflect law changes, best practice and sector priorities.    

“We are always on the look-out for good practice examples and feedback from councils, said Raymond.     

“Last year the guidance was updated after councils requested more information on working with elected members. The elected member/council official relationship and the role of governance versus administration can be complex but it is critical to the proper functioning of a local authority”.   

The guidance will be updated again ahead of the 2024 round and will reflect the economic transformation and climate change priorities expected following the COVID-19 pandemic.    

You can view SOLGM’s suite of LTP guidance on the LGSectorGoodToolkit resource section of the SOLGM website.