Working together

Like many smaller local authorities, the Manawatu District Council runs an efficient ship - it has to, given the heat on local government to be both efficient and effective.

In rising to the challenge, the council seeks to call on specialist knowledge when required for particular issues, whilst also finding opportunities for its staff to learn and grow their careers.

A cooperative approach, developed after the council engaged Boffa Miskell in 2009 on an urban planning project, has helped the council meet its needs. Through this approach, Boffa Miskell provided specialist advice and guidance to council staff who undertook a lot of the ‘leg work’, coordinating project inputs, consulting with the community and reporting to the Council.

“The benefits of this approach are simple really,” says Boffa Miskell urban planner Marc Baily. “Council management has confidence that the work being delivered is effective, given our specialist inputs, and efficient, given the work council staff undertake. Council officers are happy because they get support as they need it by calling on our experience, whilst also getting opportunities to learn and gain confidence in new areas.”

The relationship has been so successful that it has extended to a number of exciting projects across the Manawatu District, including facilitating a community planning programme for towns and villages such as Sanson, Halcombe and Kimbolton; preparing designs for cycle / walk ways in Feilding; and working on heritage planning and urban design projects in the Feilding town centre.

Boffa Miskell landscape architect, Marc Tomes, who worked closely with council staff and the Manawatu communities on these projects says the relationship remains positive.

“It is built on a mindset of cooperation, positive reinforcement from the council’s senior team and councillors, and attentiveness to staff needs from us. Feedback from council staff, councillors and the local communities has been exceptional, making us extremely proud that we have been able to be involved.”

For further information please contact Marc Baily

31 July 2013