Workshop doors open to the public in Devonport-Takpauna

Devonport-Takapuna Local Council will open its workshops to the public with the aim of creating a better understanding and transparency in its decision-making process.

At its meeting last night (May 18), council adopted a notice of motion from incoming president Ruth Jackson to open the council’s weekly workshops to the public and the media.

“I am obviously very happy with the result. Public and media participation in the workshops gives our community the opportunity to be fully informed from the early stages of the topics discussed.

“While no decisions are made at the workshops, people will be able to hear the information and advice we receive that helps us make decisions at our official business meetings.

“Open workshops dispel the appearance of secrecy and create greater public confidence in the local council process and the decisions we make on behalf of the community we serve.

While board workshops will now be open by default, the board has the ability to exclude the public from specific items – in the same way that items for a monthly business meeting can be held in confidential session – by under the provisions of the local government. Information and Meetings Act.

The board had held open workshops for two terms, from 2013 to 2019, but they were closed early in the current term, with some members expressing concern that the open workshops prevented officers from providing honest and candid information. to members.

However, Ruth Jackson says that the previous experience of the Devonport-Takapuna local council and the three other councils that have open workshops gives her confidence that these concerns are unfounded.

There are now four local councils that hold open workshops: Devonport-Takapuna, Hibiscus and Bays, Kaipātiki and Waitākere Ranges.

Read the full report, including the notice of motion on the council agenda. (see point 13)

What happens next?

The first open workshop will be held on Tuesday May 25, from 11 a.m.. The agenda of these will be promoted on the board of directors Facebook page and online.

What are local council workshops?

Local council workshops are weekly discussions of the local council, with the aim of providing council members with information on current or upcoming projects at an early stage by a range of councils, organizations controlled by the council or community partners.

Workshops provide an opportunity for board members not only to receive information, but also to ask questions and discuss areas of interest or concern.

Although the public can attend the workshops as observers, they cannot present them to the members of the council. Following this week’s decision, the media will be able to report on the proceedings of the workshop.

Local councils do not pass resolutions or make decisions at their weekly workshops. All decision-making takes place at their monthly business meetings, where the public continues to have the right to attend and address the board on matters of interest or concern.

A record of what was discussed and presented at the workshops is posted on the local council webpage at least two working days after the meeting.

Business meetings and community forums

All local councils hold business meetings, usually once a month, where they pass resolutions and make decisions to get the organization to act. The public may speak at these meetings by prior arrangement and may attend as an observer. The media also attend and report on the debate.

The Devonport-Takapuna Board of Directors also hosts a bi-monthly community forum where people can come and present to the Board any ideas or issues they want to share with them. No decision is made at the forum.

Find out more about our local board meetings, community forums and workshops.

About Stephen Arrington

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