From today, 27 September, until 18 October, Auckland Council is seeking public feedback on proposed changes to the Significance and Engagement Policy, which provides guidance on how the council receives and considers community views when making decisions.
The significance component of the policy sets out how the council determines the significance of proposals and decisions and lists the council’s strategic assets. The engagement component sets out the principles that guide the council in engaging effectively and inclusively with the diverse communities of Tāmaki Makaurau.
Councillor Alf Filipaina, Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee Chair, says the goal of the policy refresh is to make it more contemporary and user-friendly, “The 2014 policy hasn’t changed since it was introduced, but Tāmaki Makaurau has. In order to reflect changes in our public environment and the city’s development, our policies must evolve in line with our region.”
“We found that the 2014 policy remains largely fit-for-purpose, so we’ve proposed general changes including responding to changing communities, including more user-friendly language and ultimately creating a more contemporary policy."
The changes to the significance section will allow for a more accurate assessment of the degree of significance of proposals and decisions.
Councillor Desley Simpson, Finance and Performance Committee Chair, says the two main updates in the significance section are around the assessment of significance and strategic assets.
“The assessment of significance under the 2014 policy is presented as either yes or no. This refreshed policy clarifies that significance is assessed on a scale, from low to very high, giving us a much clearer idea around what consultation is needed.
“On the strategic assets side of things, the refresh clarifies that most council strategic assets are identified as groups or networks of assets, for example the ‘community facilities network’ rather than assessing individual swimming pools or community centres in isolation.”
Filipaina states although changes are minimal for the engagement component, they are vital to reflect our changing communities.
“Our Engagement Guidelines should capture the diversity of our communities. This is a practical toolkit for council staff in pursuit of effective community engagement and should align with international practice standards.”
“Ongoing collaboration on the development of the Māori engagement practice and approach will inform the Engagement Guidelines, ensuring that engagement is well-informed and aligned with best practice in te ao Māori.”
Public consultation on the draft policy will run from 27 September to 18 October 2021. Following consultation, local boards will consider feedback received in November. After any amendments have been made based off this feedback, the final policy will be presented to Auckland Council’s Governing Body in February 2022.
For opportunities to have your say, see the policy’s consultation page.