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Regional Council review to increase capability

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has today briefed staff on a proposal to strengthen the delivery of its services across the region.

The proposal responds to a shift in focus and an increasing workload for the Regional Council to meet growing expectations to protect and enhance the region’s natural environment.

Following an organisation-wide review, and a series of independent functional reviews, the proposal recommends changes to the way the Council’s operations are grouped and internally aligned. The proposal includes the disestablishment of two roles, but accommodates future growth of up to 30 new staff in the soon to be released, proposed 2018 – 2028 Long Term Plan.

Chief Executive James Palmer, appointed in June 2017, has led a review of the organisation to ensure it is fit for purpose for the Council’s new era. The proposal represents his vision for a more integrated, efficient and effective structure. He is equally committed to better servicing Council’s partnerships with external parties, including Tāngata Whenua, landowners and other councils.

“This is about getting our people better organised in how they work with one another and with our community to deliver more impact and value for money. Our environmental focus, increasing regulation and community expectations means we must increase our capability to protect and enhance our region,” says Mr Palmer.

“This is largely about managing growth in operations and associated staffing levels, but I recognise the impact any change has on staff, particularly where roles may change radically, or where some roles may no longer be appropriate. My team and I are working closely with all affected staff, with a support process in place,” add Mr Palmer.

The proposal given to staff today includes beefed-up regulatory teams operating in the areas of consenting, compliance, planning and policy. It also includes more staff on the ground in Central Hawke’s Bay and Wairoa, signalling at least five staff in each satellite office to carry out the work necessary to protect and enhance the region’s sensitive northern and southern catchments.

The Council’s shift to an Integrated Catchment Management model intends to deliver substantial improvements to the region’s land ,water and biodiversity, giving attention to areas of particular concern such as the Ahuriri Estuary and Karamū Stream.

The proposal to reorganise Council is awaiting staff feedback, before final decisions are made later this month.

More information on the Council’s proposed Long Term Plan work programme will become public on 14 March, with all ratepayers to be sent a summary of Long Term Plan proposals later in March.

1 March 2018

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