Venture outcomes under scrutiny

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 13/03/2014
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Fairfax NZ
Invercargill City Council chief executive Richard King.

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A new proposal could see Venture Southland become more accountable to the region's three councils.

A combined council workshop held this week to discuss Venture Southland's relationship with its funders saw various changes put into a draft proposal.

They include Venture working to key performance indicators (KPIs) with defined objectives and precise targets.

The meeting was attended by staff and councillors from Invercargill City Council and Southland District Council - Venture's major funders.

City council chief executive Richard King said the meeting focused on outcomes of KPIs.

Invercargill city councillor Neil Boniface said the draft was a better structure and would make Venture more accountable.

"It puts the onus back on council to give direction on what it wants from its $1.6 million in funding," he said. The draft would have KPIs to deliver outcomes the council wanted, he said.

City councillor Karen Arnold said if the draft was approved, ratepayers would be able to measure what Venture Southland was actually doing for them.

Mayor Tim Shadbolt said one of the main concerns was Venture's investments in tourism.

Southland District mayor Gary Tong said the draft took a more formal business approach to Venture and its processes would become more transparent.

District councillor Stuart Baird said he had been asking for more accountability, particularly with Venture projects, for the past few years.

Venture Southland chief executive Paul Casson said the meeting was constructive and demonstrated that the councils supported Venture Southland and were ready to move forward.

The proposed changes were around delivery, outcomes achieved and methods of discussion with councils, he said.

Gore District mayor Tracy Hicks said he had asked for accountability on Venture funding during previous discussions, so was happy with the outcome.

Details of the draft will come to light when it is tabled at the various council meetings in April, after which public submissions will be sought.

 

FUNDING SOURCES

Venture Southland is a joint initiative of the Invercargill City, Southland District and Gore District councils and is the agency responsible for economic and community development.

Funding:

Financial year July 2013-June 30 2014

ICC – $1.63m

SDC – $1.77m

GDC – $54,300

Community Trust of Southland – $398,250

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Income from external sources – $1.4m. 

JOINT ENERGY STRATEGY MULLED

A joint Southland energy strategy has created plenty of debate among the region's councils, which are yet to make a decision.

The councils agreed on a plan and strategy in 2011 but were asked at a recent Venture Southland joint committee meeting to create a policy framework to implement the strategy.

A suggested framework had been put forward by Venture at the meeting, but reservations were expressed by the district council and Gore District.

A debate about a revised policy framework ensued.

Venture Southland enterprise and strategic projects group manager Steve Canny gave a report to the meeting which said there had been extensive consultations on the joint policy framework and options for implementing an energy strategy.

Although it sat with Venture Southland, it needed to be more integrated into the normal day-to-day processes of council.

The most appropriate thing to do was establish a project working group which would report back to the appropriate body.

It would liaise with the relevant council operations staff, the report said.

Southland District Council chief executive David Adamson did not agree and expressed concerns about lumping more work on busy council staff. The policy would not be core business for the council and there was a limit to what the staff could do.

Gore District mayor Tracy Hicks said there was an issue to see if councils could cope with the policy and recommended it be taken to each council for discussion before decisions were made.

- The Southland Times

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