19 Apr 2017

A Christchurch City Council initiative aimed at helping big building projects to get through the consenting process has won national recognition at the New Zealand Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) Excellence Awards.

The Council’s Partnerships Approval Programme picked up the top award in the Local Government Funding Agency’s Transforming Service Delivery category.

That category is for programmes or projects that result in an exceptional service experience through innovative delivery models or the redesign of business processes or practices.

Christchurch City Council’s Partnerships Approval Programme pairs developers and those undertaking big building projects with case managers who help them to gain all the approvals necessary to complete their projects.

The case managers provide customers with a single point of contact and help them to identify and obtain timely regulatory approvals and compliance on large development projects.

About 200 commercial building projects have taken advantage of the programme since its launch in 2015.

“The Council’s major goal was to bring efficiency to the construction sector in Christchurch and strengthen relationships, helping developer’s complete projects faster and with fewer issues,’’ said Council Regulatory and Compliance General Manager Leonie Rae.

“Knock-on effects have included significant cost savings to the development community and a boost to the Council’s reputation in the construction sector and the wider community. The goal was to do all this without increasing staff time and with a reduction in the cost of regulatory compliance for customers, which has been achieved.’’

The judges in the SOLGM awards said the Partnerships Approval Programme was an example of the case management approach that agencies such as the Productivity Commission have recommended local authorities adopt when undertaking complex consenting or licensing activity.

The programme was now being promoted by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and was the subject of discussion with other Councils.

“In making the award this year we recognise the nature of the transformative journey that Christchurch has undertaken to get from their starting point to where they are now with consenting large or specialised projects,’’ the judges said.

“This journey has taken place against the backdrop of pressing needs arising from the earthquakes and improvements across the range of consenting practice and systems.’’