Tighter regimes promised for the Council Control Organisations
Mayor Phil Goff has said recently that he would not appoint Councillors as the two Directors to the Auckland Transport Board as was done under previous Mayor Len Brown. This is on a stronger accountability platform from Goff in the recent elections against the Council Control Organisations such as Panuku Development Auckland, Auckland Economic-Events and Tourism (ATEED), Watercare, Regional Facilities Auckland, and (more specifically) Auckland Transport (AT).
From the Office of the Mayor Phil Goff
Mayor recommends new and improved CCO accountability measures
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is recommending that councillors adopt a raft of new and improved accountability tools to significantly strengthen scrutiny of Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs), including Auckland Transport (AT).
“Strengthening the oversight of the CCOs, including AT, will result in solutions that are better aligned to the outcomes Aucklanders want. That includes easing congestion on our roads, the development of an effective and efficient public transport system and the protection and enhancement of our natural environment and communities as we bring large infrastructure projects online,” said Mayor Goff.
At Thursday’s Governing Body meeting, the Mayor will recommend that councillors no longer be automatically appointed to the AT board by virtue of their roles as elected representatives. Instead, councillors should be eligible to take part in a transparent and competitive application process that is also open to external candidates.
“Aucklanders want Council to have greater scrutiny and control over CCOs and the feedback I have received from many councillors shows that they share those concerns.
“The practice of simply appointing two councillors to a board of eight directors has not been effective in achieving adequate accountability or responsiveness from AT.
“Therefore I am recommending that all future directors be appointed on merit in an open and competitive process to ensure we get the right mix of skills, knowledge and experience to deliver the best outcomes for Auckland. That includes financial and governance expertise as well as the requirement to act in the best interests of the Shareholder, Auckland Council, on behalf of the people of this city.
“I am recommending the introduction of a suite of new and improved measures to address community concerns about the lack of accountability. Some of these powers, including the introduction of Operating Rules for AT, have never previously been exercised by Council,” said Mayor Goff.
The Mayor’s proposal includes:
- introducing new rules for AT to determine how its governing body must operate;
- modifying CCOs’ Statements of Intent to better meet Council objectives;
- undertaking a comprehensive review of accountability policies;
- developing fresh, comprehensive Letters of Expectation for all CCOs; and
- strengthening Council committees’ ability to scrutinise CCOs’ achievement of their outcomes.
“The focus solely on board appointments has distracted from the bigger issue we are facing which is the need to drive the performance of CCOs using every possible lever. The steps I am recommending will make a real difference and help us win the confidence of Aucklanders by showing that we are listening to their concerns and acting in their best interests,” said Mayor Goff.
It will be interesting to see how the Governing Body reacts with some Councillors insisting that the AT Board should still have two Councillors sitting on it. In an ironic twist Councillors Chris Fletcher and Mike Lee can not be reappointed to AT Board as they have served the maximum six years under the Rules.
The Governing Body meets from 9:30am on Thursday at Town Hall. A live-stream is also provided.