Case Study 8: The Our Way - Southland Project

Local Authorities Working Together.

Who Is Involved?

Environment Southland, Southland District Council, Invercargill City Council, and Gore District Council.

What Led To The Joint Arrangement?

The Local Government Act 2002 (the Act) requires all local authorities to undertake a process to identify community outcomes, which are to be used in the preparation of a Long-Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP). In early 2002, the Southland Shared Services Forum asked each of the Southland local authorities to adopt a policy of working together on a joint project to meet their obligations under the Act. Each local authority adopted the policy, and a combined staff working group was formed. The working group prepared a joint proposal for the Our Way – Southland project that was put to the Southland Shared Services Forum in May 2003. The forum endorsed the proposal and recommended that the local authorities approve the proposal and commit the required funding. After endorsement of the proposal in June 2003, the mayors and chief executives signed a Memorandum of Agreement.

How Does It Work?

The main objective of the project is to understand the likely future of Southland and create a shared vision for the region with extensive public involvement. The project has four stages:

  1. Profiling the community, identifying how residents feel about their community and what community values are important to them.
  2. Analysing trends and advising possible scenarios of the future.
  3. Creating a community vision and identifying desired outcomes through extensive public involvement.
  4. Drawing up an action plan to implement the vision.

A Steering Group was set up, consisting of three councillors from each participating local authority, plus an iwi representative. A Project Team was set up consisting of two staff members from each local authority, the project leader, and a communications officer.

A regional document will be produced as a result of the community outcomes identification phase, and will include a vision and an action plan. Each local authority will then prepare an individual LTCCP, detailing its contribution towards achieving the desired outcomes for the region, and reflecting its own area’s priorities. The project is expected to take slightly more than two years, with a target completion date of June 2005.

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