Auckland Council is introducing new corporate policies to guide staff behaviour at work, including a revised approach for travel expenditure.
‘Our Charter’, agreed to by council’s Governing Body today, is a single set of six principles and standards for staff behaviour across key areas, including Te Tiriti o Waitangi, information and security, health and safety, general staff conduct and money and assets/ sensitive expenditure.
Mayor Phil Goff says the council has a responsibility to Auckland’s ratepayers to spend their money wisely.
“The new policies create clear expectations for the council and its CCOs to be restrained on gifts, hospitality and travel,” he says.
The charter consolidates over 200 existing corporate staff policies, which often differ amongst departments and across the Auckland Council Group.
New approach for travel and accommodation
Our Charter has new expectations for dealing with money and assets such as staff travel and accommodation that will apply across the Auckland Council Group for the first time.
These are based on the principles of delivering value for money, prudence and building trust with Aucklanders around sensitive expenditure.
Mayor Phil Goff says the new requirements for staff to fly economy for flights of less than eight hours and premium economy for any over eight hours will deliver value for money.
“The new principles and standards will address concerns about the level of travel spending with the expectation that there is greater transparency around council travel.
“In addition, the council will be focussed on meeting expectations for tighter travel budgets with a commitment to delivering a 30 per cent reduction in the travel budget in this financial year.
"Any business class travel will have to be reviewed and approved by the Chief Executive.
"All staff must be financially prudent and choose the best value for money when making spending choices.
“I expect every council organisation to apply close scrutiny to all its expenditure including gifts, hospitality and travel,” says Mayor Goff.
The money and assets standards recognise that the council has a responsibility to use resources in a way that builds trust with the public says Auckland Council Chief Executive Stephen Town.
“The council is committed to transparency, accountability and to being a cost-effective organisation delivering for Aucklanders.
“Under the new policy, staff travel will only be approved when there is a strong business driver and alternatives, like Skype and teleconferencing, are not available.
“The clear expectation is that all travel is prudent and is an economy class fare with travel done a day earlier where possible to keep costs down”, says Mr Town.
The Group approach around money and assets has been developed in line with Office of the Auditor General guidelines and benchmarked against similar principle-based policies across central government.