Probably to skip Local Boards while adding a layer of duplication
From Auckland Council:
Auckland Council announces new Community Empowerment unit
A new community-focused unit that aims to better serve Aucklanders and its communities will be up and running from 1 October 2015.
The Community Empowerment unit will replace the Community Safety and Development Unit (CDS) which currently sits within the Community Development, Arts and Culture (CDAC) department.
Community Empowerment is being established as part of Auckland Council’s commitment to deliver the Empowered Communities Approach (ECA), as driven by the Mayor’s Proposal under the Long Term Plan (2015-2025).
“An empowered community is one where individuals, whanau and communities have the means to influence decisions, take action and make change happen in their lives and communities. This includes communities of place, interest and identity,” says CDAC General Manager, Graham Bodman.
“By working in fresh and innovative ways, the new unit will help enable and support communities to better improve their areas, energise them about coming together to shape local activities, and have more influence over things they care about and which matter uniquely to them.”
As part of the decision-making around designing and developing the new unit, CDS staff have participated in a robust feedback and consultation process. Staff and departments from across council fed back into the proposal. This feedback showed broad support for the proposed changes. Some changes were also made to the original proposal based on the high-quality feedback received.
“We were really pleased to see the overall clear support for the proposal, which included endorsement for the intent of the Empowered Communities Approach to embed responsiveness to Māori,” says Mr Bodman.
Two new positions that will focus on inclusive design and CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) have been also been created – a Principal Specialist, Universal Access, and a fixed-term Specialist, Safety and Security Advisor. They will be located in the Auckland Design Office.
Mr Bodman adds, “We took steps to ensure the skill-set of accessibility knowledge is maintained. By creating these roles we are ensuring that council continues to receive considered, strategic advice on matters of importance to the disability community.”
About the Empowered Communities Approach (ECA)
The ECA model was signalled under the council’s Long Term Plan 2015-2025 – the Mayor’s proposal challenged Auckland Council to develop and apply a more empowered communities approach to its work.
At the local level, this means people (neighbours, organisations, businesses and individuals) are actively involved in improving their areas, and they are energised about coming together to shape local activities.
About the Community Empowerment Unit
The Community Empowerment unit will consist of two Manager Strategic Brokers and 19 Strategic Broker roles – they will have a central home base, but a key part of their role is to be ‘mobile’ and flexible so they will work in local boards’ offices or regional offices and will be visible to communities.
There will also be a Practice Hub made up of a Practice Hub Manager, two Managers for Operations, a Community Contracts Manager, and a Youth Connections Programmes Manager. Collectively, they will manage 48 staff members. A Programme Manager and Business Advisor will work across and support the management team.
The current Community Development and Safety unit will be disestablished on 30 September 2015 and replaced by the new Community Empowerment unit on 1 October 2015. A six-month transition period will be required to embed the approach across the unit and Auckland.
I thought that is what Local Boards were for? Well given the issues we are also having with the Unitary Plan with Planners seeming to enforce what they think Sense of Place is rather than the Community this bit: “An empowered community is one where individuals, whanau and communities have the means to influence decisions, take action and make change happen in their lives and communities. This includes communities of place, interest and identity,” might be proven to be harder than it will appear at face value.
5 thoughts on “Council Introduces Community Empowerment Unit. Designed to Bypass Local Boards? #AKLPols”
Right on Esther. Nail on the head there – Out West anyway
” Those groups then on-contract on various projects of there choosing outside of council processes and outside of the public eye with many of them being aligned with party politics.. The community empowerment has not resulted in greater equality for communities. Instead it allows council to work on a Grandmas got an envelope of money for her favoured groups system. “
Any unit that has members subject to ‘political’ appointment instead of the democratic process does not tell me that communities will be empowered at all.
Given the unique nature of each local board across Auckland, the perceived need to have one rule to fit all seriously hampers communities from participating in their local areas.
Local body elections with a voter turnout of less than 40% is pretty significant in the mix too. BUT that is the most democratic way to allow people to have their say in the selection process.
The public can attend, make submissions and seek hearings with local boards in their monthly meetings as well.
July minutes for example: http://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/Open/2015/07/PPK_20150715_MIN_4977.PDF
It would be great to have a ‘unit’ that empowers and motivates communities to participate in their future BUT not at the expense of the democratic process.
Thrilled at this initiative. Helps with ‘one rule for all’ policy.
You thinking about a particular Local Board you way gone amuck?
Lol. +1 Ben Ross. Empowered communities could work. But it doesnt. So far it has subverted normal processes and entered into multiple partnerships with trusts which contain numerous conflicts of interest with both the elected members and excouncil staff for large amounts of money and uncertain deliverables. . Those groups then on-contract on various projects of there chosing outside of council processes and outside of the public eye with many of them being aligned with party politics.. The community empowerment has not resulted in greater equality for communities. Instead it allows council to work on a Grandmas got an envelope of money for her favoured groups system. The first clue of a problem should be in your statement that they are opening a community empowerement division and they consulted with council staff. The fact that it’s not consulted on with the public should ring alarm bells. While empowered communities could work there are SIGNIFICANT ISSUES! This is a major change to procurement processes and should be on Shape Auckland for consultation.
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