36                                                             04 May 2017

Community Services Committee

12 April 2017




File: (17/661)





Report no: CSC2017/2/108


Review of Community Committees


Purpose of Report

1.    For the Committee to agree to the recommendations contained in this report.


That the Committee recommends that Council:

(i)    approves the establishment of three Community Panels; and

(ii)   notes the new Community Panel approach would be reviewed after
12 months



2.    In late 2016 Council agreed to review the current Community Committee structure.  Council agreed for officers to seek community feedback on a concept for a new approach.  This was undertaken in two parts: Citizens Panel and conversations with previous Community Committee members and other key stakeholders.

3.    Citizens Panel results indicated 49% supported the Community Panel proposal as it was presented, 28% did not support the proposal and 23% said they did not know.

4.    77% believed that Community Committees or Community Panels are required for democratic representation in Hutt City.

5.    Those who did support the proposal were attracted by the cost savings and the reduction of bureaucracy generally.

6.    Many people who did not support the proposal expressed concern about relying on Councillors and Council officers to ensure that robust and meaningful community engagement was undertaken – they did not believe that this would happen.

7.    Some feedback also presented concerns regarding the possibility of having Boards operating in parts of Hutt City without an equivalent in other parts of the city.  

8.    Feedback was also received that while a North Eastern Panel appeared logical, there was a significant enough difference (geography, community issues, other) between the Western Hills and Central Ward to warrant consideration of separate panels or committees.   

9.    Respondents felt that the proposal was not sufficiently developed for them to be able to form a real view of the advantages or disadvantages of changing from Community Committees to Community Panels.  They were, however, in favour of change that would mean that communities accessed more funding for projects in their areas, they liked the idea of having panel members being more active in the community and they were attracted by the greater level of flexibility the proposal seemed to offer.  They wanted people who have the capabilities needed to be responsible for funding decisions.

10.  Officers believe that the proposed Community Panel approach takes the above into account and provides a hybrid model for consideration.

11.  A full summary of the feedback is attached as Appendix 1 to the report.


12.  In consideration of all of the feedback, officers propose the following model.

13.  Hybrid of both the existing structure and proposed new concept, with three Community Panels established : North Eastern, Central and Western Hills.

14.  The Community Panels would fulfil the following key functions:


a.       Representation – discuss, debate and provide feedback to Council on all important local issues, city wide matters of significance, Annual Plans and policy setting.   

b.       Manage a new Local Community Projects fund.

c.       Manage the Community Engagement Fund.

d.      Mentor, coach and introduce new people to Local Government governance.

15.  The Community Panel structure would consist of:


a.       Five members (excluding elected Councillors)  

b.       North Eastern Panel – to include the 4 local ward Councillors.

·      Two panels of seven and the North Eastern nine.

c.       Each panel to appoint a Chair.


16.  Council officers will call for expressions of interests to fill the community based positions on the Community Panels.  The Mayor and relevant Ward Councillors will make the final decision on Panel membership.  Those  who express an interest will be expected to:


a.       Demonstrate a real commitment and passion to local community.

b.       Demonstrated ability to work proactively and constructively with a team. 

c.       Clear evidence of a connection and strong networks with local community groups and residents.

d.      Live in the local community.

e.       An interest in local body matters and/or including an interest in standing for Council in the future.

f.       Demonstrated ability to represent their community – in the community and in formal public settings, including Council.


17.  As well as considering the above criteria, the Mayor and Ward Councillors will also take into account each individual:


a.       Professional skills.

b.       Existing membership to community groups – eg Residents Associations, Marae, School Boards etc. 


18.  The total budget associated with Community Committees per triennium is $550,000 (excluding the Community Engagement Fund).  The table below breaks down how this funding will be distributed under the proposed Community Panel model:


a.       Honorariums $750 per member per annum (excludes Councillors).

b.       Admin Budget - $2,000 per annum per panel – to cover meeting related costs.

c.         Training/Professional Development - $2,000 per annum per panel.


Per Triennium



Western Hills

North Eastern






Engagement Fund (no change)





Community Projects Fund





Admin Budget











19.  There are no changes to the Community Engagement Fund; this will continue to operate as it currently does which is “To support community development or community events in the local community with the objective of strengthening and building community”.

20.  The Community Projects Fund will be used to fund one or more local community projects per triennium.  Projects are to develop community assets that are not able to be funded in Council’s Long Term Plan.  Where ongoing maintenance and/or other costs are required after completion, the projects need to be formally agreed with the relevant division of Council.

21.  Community Projects Fund – basic guidelines and criteria:

a.       To be used to fund one or more local community projects per triennium.

b.       Projects are to develop community assets that are not able to be funded in Council’s Long Term Plan.

c.       Community assets include playgrounds, street furniture, public art, tree planting, lighting, safety improvements, way finding, signage, improvements to existing public places and facilities.

d.      These community assets need to be in public spaces.

e.       The development of new assets needs to be in accordance with Council strategies or plans.

f.       Where ongoing maintenance and/or other costs are required after completion, the projects need to be formally agreed with the relevant division of Council.

22.  A fair, transparent and simple criteria to guide panels to manage this budget will be established if this approach is approved.   

23.  There are some key changes that will take place if this new proposed Community Panel approach is adopted.  Changes include:


a.       Significant new fund for local community projects.

b.       Loss of salaries for members.

c.       Increased focus on meaningful representation and providing feedback to elected members and the full Council.

d.      The following previous delegations of Community Committees will cease and be managed by officers and or Council Committees:

·      Traffic management issues.

·      Naming of new roads and alterations.

·      Official naming of parks, reserves and sports grounds.

·      Removal and/or planting of street trees.

·      Granting of leases and licences in terms of community groups using Council owned properties.

·      Granting of rights of way and other easements.       

24.  Increased emphasis on providing an introduction to existing and potential new people to local government – an opportunity for potential future local body candidates to gain experience and insight.

25.  The community will continue to have the opportunity to provide feedback on all of those areas that the Community Committees would normally have had delegation for, through making submissions and through attendance at appropriate Council meetings.

26.  Alongside the panels, Council officers will be committed to ensuring the local community voice is captured with regards to issues affecting their community.  Our libraries and integrated hubs will play an increased role in capturing these voices. They will ensure:


a.    Greater visibility to the community of issues arising through Council meetings that relate to their specific communities.

b.    They are accessed by community, and seen as the place to find out more about Council processes, meetings, and highlight any issues within their communities which could be anything from roading, traffic, safety, dogs, through to house emissions.


27.  This new model will require Council officers in our libraries and hubs to take a greater leadership role as a conduit between Council and community, with specific reference to items that might be moving through Council meetings that community should be aware of and able to provide feedback on.  In communities like the Western Hills, where there is not a hub or library, Council officers will ensure Residents’ Associations are aware equally informed.

28.  If Council approves this new proposed Community Panel approach, officers would seek Expressions of Interests in June/July 2017 and will hold first meetings in August 2017.   The frequency and timings of these meetings will be at the discretion of each panel. 

29.  General administration support would be provided by Secretariat Services, and a more informal approach towards these meetings will be suggested, but ultimately up to each panel how they are operated to ensure most efficient use of time and resources.

30.  Given one year has already lapsed within the current triennium, this new proposed Community Panel approach would run for the remaining two years and could then be considered as part of the Representation Review,  as a possible approach for all parts of the city.

31.  Benefits of the proposed model include: retention of Tier 2 representation with greater flexibility for community consultation on both important local and city-wide issues; an increase in local community engagement; new funding for local community asset based projects; and opportunities for new people, with a different skillset and knowledge of their community to be involved.

32.  Possible disadvantages include: the perception that because the new model will be more informal than formal in structure, community feedback will not be taken seriously; panel meetings could become unproductive given informal nature; and possible conflict between community asset being developed and the appropriate Council division formally agreeing to the ongoing maintenance or other costs post completion.


33.  Status quo – four Community Committees – same functions as previously held in the last triennium.

34.  Two Community Panels – as per consulted on.

35.  Four Community Panels – variation of the model consulted on.

36.  Hybrid of both the existing structure and proposed new concept – two, three or four panels.

37.  Do nothing until the full formal Representation Review has been completed during 2017/18.


38.  Citizens Panel survey was conducted and conversations were held with previous Community Committee members and Chairs.  A full summary of that feedback is attached as Appendix 1.

Other Considerations

39.  In making this recommendation, officers have given careful consideration to the purpose of local government in section 10 of the Local Government Act 2002.  Officers believe that this recommendation falls within the purpose of the Local Government Act.






Community Panels Survey Appendix 1






Author: Melanie Laban

Community Projects and Relationship Manager







Approved By: Matt Reid

General Manager Community Services