The Local Government Act 2002 (the Act) requires local authorities to adopt a Significance and Engagement Policy [PDF, 273 KB] (SEP).

This SEP was adopted by Selwyn District Council, following public consultation, on 26 November 2014. It replaces the Council’s previous Policy on Significance, and sets out a framework for when and how Council will engage with the community in decision-making.

The two principal components of the SEP are:

  1. Approach to determining significance, including criteria for determining significance;
  2. Processes and methods for engagement.

Legislative requirements:

Section 76AA of the Act specifies that the SEP must set out:

a) the local authority’s general approach to determining the significance of proposals and decisions in relation to issues, assets or other matters

b) any criteria or procedures that are to be used by the local authority in assessing the extent to which issues, proposals, decisions or other matters are significant

c) how the local authority will respond to community preferences about engagement on decisions relating to specific issues, assets or other matters, including when use of the special consultative procedure is desirable

d) how the local authority will engage with communities on other matters.

The purpose of the SEP is:

a) to enable the local authority and its communities to identify the degree of significance attached to particular issues, assets or other matters

b) to provide clarity about how and when communities can expect to be engaged in decisions about different issues, assets or other matters

c) to inform the local authority from the beginning of a decision-making process about

i. the extent of any public engagement that is expected before a particular decision is made

ii. the form or type of engagement required.

The SEP also lists the assets considered by the Council to be strategic assets.

Developing the Selwyn District Council SEP

The Selwyn District Council SEP was developed through a process of integration that brought together the existing Selwyn District Council Policy on Significance, advice from the NZ Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM), and examples of the draft SEPs developed by Environment Canterbury, Auckland Council and collaboratively by councils in the Waikato region. Public feedback on the draft policy was sought during consultation.