The council’s new Community Empowerment Unit launched in October 2015, marking the beginning of new and innovative ways of working with Auckland’s many and diverse communities.
The new unit replaces the previous Community Development and Safety Unit within council’s Community Development, Arts and Culture (CDAC) Department.
It includes a team of 18 strategic brokers, all highly skilled community development planners and practitioners, which will operate as a mobile workforce. They will spend the majority of their time out in the community working directly with local boards and community groups to support their work plans.
A team of 28 advisors will hold specific portfolios including youth, disability, research, and social investment and more. They will also work closely with council’s many cultural and social advisory panels.
A dedicated youth connections team will include seven specialists with a particular focus on work programmes to support Auckland’s children and young people. There are also specialists to work in the areas of graffiti eradication, alcohol and drug and injury prevention.
Graham Bodman, CDAC General Manager, says that after nearly seven months of staff consultation, development and planning of the new operational model, the new unit is a leap forward in the council’s journey to actively support the needs of Auckland’s diverse communities.
“An empowered community is one where individuals, whanau and communities have the means to influence decisions, take action and make change happen in their lives and communities. This includes communities of place, interest and identity,” says Mr Bodman.
“The new unit takes us out of the office and into communities so we can work alongside them to support local projects. Additionally, over time we will be a centre of expertise, innovation and best practice to lead and support all parts of council working directly with communities."
The unit was driven by the mayor’s proposal under the 10-Year Budget 2015-2025. The mayor challenged Auckland Council to develop and apply a more empowered communities approach to its work.
Council staff provided feedback into the final structure of the unit. Of the submissions received, 97 per cent supported part or all of the proposed changes.