Auckland, December 20, 2019
The Auckland Council has announced a three-members panel that will lead the independent review of its substantive Council-Controlled Organisations (CCOs).
The independent panel will comprise Miriam Dean, Doug Martin and Leigh Auton.
Miriam Dean has been appointed Panel Chair. The Council’s Governing Body made the panel appointments at its meeting on December 12, 2019.
Mayor Phil Goff said, “I am impressed with the calibre of the three independent appointees and the expertise they bring in leading complex and high-profile organisational reviews. These three members were chosen because of their combined expertise in governance, understanding of local government and legislation and knowledge of community engagement. Their collective experience will ensure a comprehensive review,” he said.
Time to review
Mr Goff said that Aucklanders have been clear about the challenges with Auckland’s CCO model. “After 10 years, the time is right for a review so we can understand what is working well, what is not working and what we can do to improve it.”
The panel members bring an in-depth understanding of how Auckland Council works into the CCO review process.
Miriam Dean is the chair and Doug Martin a member of the Independent Reference Panel providing oversight of Auckland Council’s value for money programme. Leigh Auton is a former local government chief executive and was involved in the Auckland Council Governance Framework review in 2016-2017.
The Panel’s role is to provide recommendations to the Governing Body to ensure services delivered by the CCOs are efficient and effective and their decision-making has sufficient levels of political oversight, public transparency and accountability.
The CCO review will focus on three key areas – the CCO model, roles and responsibilities, the mechanisms of accountability between CCO boards, the council and the public, and the culture of CCOs responsiveness to the council and Aucklanders.
During the first three months of next year, the independent panel will consult with Aucklanders to seek their input into the review. Auckland Council staff will support the panel to complete its work and its engagement with Aucklanders.
The Panel will provide a draft report outlining key issues and the feedback from Aucklanders in May 2020, with their final report and recommendations expected by the end of July 2020. If required, the council will carry out further public consultation on the review’s findings and any proposal for change as part of the next 10-year budget.
The Selection Process
The selection process involved a long list of potential panel members compiled from nominations made by the Council’s Governing Body.
Suitable nominees were then asked to submit an expression of interest which was assessed against the key competencies for the role to form a shortlist. The shortlist was discussed at a confidential workshop with the council’s Governing Body on December 5, 2019 which identified the preferred candidates.
The preferred candidates were then contacted to confirm their interest, availability, remuneration and to complete a conflict of interest assessment.
Miriam Dean is a highly regarded barrister, reviewer and director who is the independent chair of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme and Director of Otakaro Limited, Crown Infrastructure Partners and the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
Recently, she was Chair of the Electricity Price Review (2018-2019) and lead reviewer of the Corrections Review into Prisoners Mail alongside being involved in several other government inquiries.
Doug Martin is one of the most respected and experienced advisors on the organisational performance of public sector agencies in New Zealand.
In 2013, he was appointed Crown Manager to Christchurch City Council helping it regain its accreditation as building consent authority.
More recently, he conducted independent reviews into the use of external security consultants by state sector agencies and into NZTA’s regulatory function and the Ministry of Transport’s monitoring of NZTA.
Leigh Auton is a local government specialist with both extensive senior executive and governance experience. He was the Chief Executive of Manukau City Council and Interim CEO at Tauranga City Council.
He was appointed by the government to the Board of Inquiry for the proposed Men’s Prison at Wiri in 2011 and to the Review Panel for Kaiprara District Council in 2012 and is a former member of the local Government Commission. Leigh has extensive involvement with Te Rūnanga ā Iwi o Ngāpuhi and is currently Chair of the Group Audit and Risk Committee.
(Pictures from Auckland Council website)