The Waikato’s city and district councils have slashed the number of policies on their books by more than half through their own internal work and a joint project carried out under the auspices of the Waikato Mayoral Forum.
And the forum – made up of Waikato’s mayors and the regional council chair – says even more policies are set to be tagged for culling as part of the ongoing project.
“This has been about eliminating the out-of-date and otherwise unnecessary red tape from our books,” said the forum’s chair Allan Sanson, the mayor of Waikato district.
“Weeding out the unneeded policies makes the local policy landscape simpler for everybody and reduces the risk of confusion for councils, businesses and the general community.”
A report to the forum’s latest meeting said the joint policy consolidation work – led by Hamilton city’s policy programme manager Tegan McIntyre and South Waikato District CEO Craig Hobbs – found 560 policies had been on the books.
The internal work by councils and the joint review process meant some 295 policies could be scrapped. “There is further opportunity for rationalisation as a result of assessing those policies which have been categorized for more in depth review,” the report said. This ongoing work would be carried out over the next few years.
Ms McIntyre said all councils involved had been able to delete or identify unneeded policies that would be ditched. Part of the reason for the growth in the number of unneeded policies was that policy documents had been used to record operational procedures rather than just sticking to high level policy.
“Cutting out this sort of thing means councils can also spend less time on reviewing policy documents when they need to be re-examined,” she said.
A key advantage of the policy review process was that it will help councils identify policies that can be jointly reviewed with a view to aligning approaches across the region, Mr Sanson said.
“An example of this already in place is that we have jointly developed a significance and engagement policy which spells out when and how councils will engage with their communities over issues,” he said.