Council division takes report on board

Environment Southland compliance manager Mark Hunter says he has met with his chief executive, Rob Phillips, to discuss the performance of the council's compliance division.

The division has come under scrutiny in recent months, with an independent report identifying several problems relating to poor processes and procedures which were deemed to be unacceptable in the compliance department.

The audit was ordered by the regional council following Southland Times articles highlighting complaints from members of the public about the behaviour and actions of the council and its compliance staff, specifically compliance officer Chris McMillan, who works in Mr Hunter's team.

Mr Hunter said yesterday he had met with Mr Phillips on Friday to discuss the findings of the independent audit.

But it was not appropriate to make too many comments about the meeting at this point, Mr Hunter said.

There would be further discussions at a later date, he said.

"I am on Christmas leave so any more talks will probably be in the new year."

Mr Hunter said he did not feel his job was on the line but his meeting with Mr Phillips was part of the process to improve the way the compliance division did things.

"There is always room for improvement. External reviews can identify weaknesses but they also highlight strengths," he said.

"It would be silly to ignore the findings of the audit."

The council would be working to find a way to best implement the changes to processes and procedures within its compliance division, Mr Hunter said.

The Southland Times