Part 4: Consulting on the annual plan

Department of Conservation: Administration of the Conservation Services Programme – Follow-up audit.

Inviting written submissions on draft annual plans, and circulating those submissions

The Conservation Services Programme’s draft annual plan sets out the proposed programme for the coming year. While we noted in our 2002 report that DOC was attempting to improve the timeliness of consultation on the draft plan, we recommended that DOC:

  • invite parties to make written submissions on the draft annual plan, then circulate those submissions to all parties before the consultation meeting; and
  • continue to ensure that all parties were aware of the documents being circulated. What progress has been made in implementing our recommendations?

DOC gave interested parties the opportunity to make written submissions on the draft 2004-05 annual plan for the Conservation Services Programme, and circulated these submissions before the consultation meeting. DOC has said that it will continue to do this.

A detailed draft timetable for development of the 2004-05 plan was provided to interested parties, including details of documents and other relevant information that was scheduled to be provided over the consultation period. The consultation period ran from the middle of January through to April 2004, increasing the likelihood that interested parties had the time and resources to participate meaningfully. (In previous years, consultation occurred over the Christmas and New Year period.)

Other parties confirmed that DOC has made progress on consultation, and had circulated submissions received from the various interested parties before the consultation meeting (including late submissions, as and when they were received).

Our conclusions

DOC has adequately addressed the recommendations in our 2002 report, by actively inviting written submissions on the Conservation Services Programme’s draft annual plan, and circulating those submissions before the consultation meeting. A timetable informs interested parties of the documents to be circulated, and when this will happen. The interested parties seem reasonably satisfied with this approach.

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