Council's new CEO wants major change in culture

TINA LAW
Last updated 05:00 02/09/2014

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Karleen Edwards is on a mission to change the culture within the Christchurch City Council.

The new chief executive is creating an in-house committee whose role will be to help improve staff morale and how the council is perceived by the public.

The committee would be made up of 12 staff members from all levels and departments.

It will meet for the first time this month.

"We want people to love working here and promote it as a place to work," Edwards said.

"Everything we do has an impact on the people and the community."

The council's culture has been slammed in various reports in the past two years.

A 2012 review of the council's communication said it did not communicate well with the public and had a bunker mentality. The report described the council's relationships with external stakeholders and residents as poor.

Edwards said she wanted to improve the experience of people working at the council and enhance its performance so it meets the community's needs.

"It must be hard to come to work each day and consistently read negative things, which has happened in the past . We want to change the perception of the council in the community."

The council needed to be "much more transparent and share information, good and bad", she said.

The committee would be internal, closed to the public, and would make recommendations to Edwards and the senior leadership team.

Edwards was reluctant to say what recommendations the group could make but said it could be any number of initiatives from encouraging people to greet to each other in the lift to making sure staff were recognised for doing good work.

"It's about making today better than yesterday," she said.

No budget has been allocated to the committee and any recommended projects would be looked at on a case-by-case basis. The council spent money on a range of training and development initiatives and some of that could be used if needed, Edwards said.

"A lot of these things will not take any money at all. Recognition of someone's good work might not mean a reward, just recognition," she said.

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- The Press

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