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Last modified: 11 Jun 2021 11:52am

A community group meeting

The Council has laid out a road map for the reforms of its community committees.

At the Council meeting on Wednesday (9 June) the Council agreed to a process over the next year, to discharge 46 committees of their legal responsibilities as committees of Council.

This will relieve them of the legal responsibilities of being part of Council while allowing them to keep functioning as independent community groups if they wish.

The Council will also work with a remaining 24 committees on their future role and function, with a draft policy being developed for consultation with the committees and wider community on the future of committees. It will also continue to support volunteers through the strong mechanisms already in place for supporting volunteer community groups and community led initiatives.

Community Services and Facilities Group Manager Denise Kidd says the decision is the next step in a long project working with the more than 70 committees to ensure communities were best served.

“Committees of Council have given great service and worked extremely hard for their communities over a long time. However, we have reached a point where being Committees of Council has shackled some of these groups and caused frustrations. Most people agree 70 committees is too much and we need a better system.”

Those frustrations included the restrictions of having to comply with legal requirements such as Health and Safety legislation and not being able to submit to Council’s Annual and Long-Term Plans.

“We have listened to those frustrations and reflected on the restrictions. We want to free groups to advocate for and work in their communities without being hampered by those requirements. Volunteer community groups shouldn’t have to wait for Council request or permission to do good things with their community and for their community,” Denise says.

The Council will continue to work with these remaining committees over the next year on Council’s role and on future roles they could play in the community. It will also work to re-focus the Community Committees system to create something that works well for communities into the future. The Council will also continue to work with, and support, the various volunteers, sports clubs and user groups keen to give back to their communities in roles associated with reserves, community pools and halls.

“We want committees to have a role representing their communities and to continue to be engaged, receiving feedback from communities on the ground and support community led initiatives.”