Case Study 10: Shared Staffing in Taranaki

Local Authorities Working Together.

Who Is Involved?

South Taranaki District Council and New Plymouth District Council.

What Led To The Joint Arrangement?

In 2000-01, South Taranaki District Council advertised unsuccessfully to fill the position of Water Supply Manager. The Council approached New Plymouth District Council to determine if it was willing to make a staff member available to fill the vacant position. In March 2001, the chief executives of the two Councils signed a contract for the part-time secondment of a New Plymouth District Council engineer to the position.

Similarly, unable to fill the role of Group Manager Engineering, the South Taranaki District Council again approached New Plymouth District Council, and the chief executives signed a contract for the part-time secondment of New Plymouth District Council’s Manager Special Projects in August 2001.

How Does It Work?

Both staff members are still New Plymouth District Council employees. The contract for provision of services requires the Manager Special Projects to attend the South Taranaki District Council office at least two days a week, and carry out South Taranaki District Council work for three days a week, reporting to the South Taranaki District Council chief executive. South Taranaki District Council pays for the time of the New Plymouth District Council staff at agreed charge-out rates. The contract defines the services to be provided, fees payable to New Plymouth District Council, facilities to be provided by South Taranaki District Council, and accountability arrangements. The performance of the staff members is assessed by the respective chief executives.

Benefits of the joint arrangement include:

  • South Taranaki District Council has been able to draw on the necessary resources from a partner local authority that has an understanding of common issues in the region;
  • South Taranaki District Council staff gain from the broader expertise, knowledge, and experience that the seconded New Plymouth District Council managers are able to bring from their work in a larger local authority;
  • the arrangement broadens the management skills and enhances the career development of the two New Plymouth District Council employees, providing fresh challenges. Both employees have stronger managerial roles when working in their South Taranaki District Council capacities. The need to delegate work to junior staff has built up their independence and work experience;
  • it maximises the value of managers’ time; and
  • it strengthens the technical capability of South Taranaki District Council, and has avoided the inefficiencies associated with a new manager taking up the new position.

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