Media release

ORC seeking feedback on new Significance and Engagement policy

Tuesday 28 October 2014

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is developing a new Significance and Engagement policy, and wants feedback on how it should operate.

Council must produce the policy after an amendment to the Local Government Act 2002. The new policy explains how the ORC will decide the significance of a proposal or issue, and what method(s) and level of community engagement will be needed before a decision is made.

ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said the ORC had a long history of conducting extensive community consultations and worked closely with its stakeholders.

“Our engagement will continue to be a process of communication between decision-makers, communities and stakeholders to help council make better decisions, policies or programmes.”

“Following assessment of significance, engagement methods could include surveys, social media alerts, meetings with individuals and key stakeholders, focus groups, public meetings, or any combination of these,” he said.

“Extensive public input into significant council decisions is essential to ensure that they reflect the views, aspirations, and priorities of Otago’s community and other interest groups.”

The choice of consultation will depend upon who is being affected, what information council and the community already holds on the matter, and what level of significance and urgency it involves.

“When the ORC is considering a significant change, or proposing a new programme, we will seek community input. Just as we are doing now by seeking public feedback on this policy itself,” Mr Woodhead said.

You can find out more on the ORC website

Submissions close at 5pm on Monday 10 November 2014, and council must adopt the new policy by Monday 1 December 2014.

For more information

Stephen Woodhead
Ph 03 474 0827 or 027 280 1635