by Guy Burns

MJ ReviewThe publication of the independent organisational Review of Kapiti Coast District Council by Martin Jenkins (known by some as the Cootes Report) is a mighty disappointment. Nearly $200,000 of report fails to deliver. The Report lacks depth and doesn’t penetrate the inner workings of the organisation that it was tasked to review.

The wide ranging scope of the investigation set it up for failure. Tasked to cover governance, leadership, staff, services, external relationships and Maori engagement—it comprised too many topics to properly analyse and find robust and meaningful recommendations.

The Report fails to find inefficiencies and needed improvements regarding the organisational structure. Rather, like a mantra, Martin Jenkins recommends spending more money and resources on training and mentoring:  training/mentoring for Councillors on governance, training/mentoring for managers, training for staff, training on the use of technology and systems, training on communications and engagement.

The question needs to be asked — why is so much training and mentoring recommended?

Martin Jenkins identifies that better communication from staff, to both the public and Councillors is needed, but doesn’t explain a better system or methodology to do so. Utilising the resource of Community Boards has been highlighted and the Report notes the need to utilise the Boards in a better way. Maori participation in Council needs strengthening and Martin Jenkins outline some useful recommendations.

Overall, Martin Jenkins relies too much on Council’s own documents and the less than robust NZ Taxpayers’ Union for its information. Interviews undertaken by the Report writers provide more useful data. But the net was cast too wide to provide any in-depth and meaningful findings/recommendations needed to achieve transformational change at Kapiti Coast District Council.

Guy Burns is deputy chair of the Paraparaumu-Raumati Community Board and is one of several in the community who for some years have been calling for organisational reform at KCDC with greater efficiency.