Local governance: Do you want to get involved in local governance and have a say in what happens in your community?

Local governance: Do you want to get involved in local governance and have a say in what happens in your community?

- Anne Galloway, Christchurch City Councillor, shares some insights

As a new CityCouncillor elected in October 2016, Ihave become aware that many people are unaware ofhow to get involved and have influence onthe decisions made in the community. At a recent International Women's Day event which highlighted the fantastic work thatthe SHAKTI refuge does to support migrant and refugee women who are victims of domestic violence, I shared the following information so people wouldunderstand the processes.

Community Boards
Each Board is supported by the Community Governance Team which provides advice to the Board and ensures that the Board has the information it needs to assist it in making decisions. The team includes a community governance manager and community development and recreation staff who work with people and issues across the Community Board area. The team arranges board meetings and produces agendas for those meetings as well as providing information to people who want to come and speak with the Board.

The community boards' main roles are to:

  • represent and act as advocate for the interests of its community
  • consider and report on all matters referred to it by the Council, or any matter of interest to the board
  • maintain an overview of services provided by the Council within the community
  • prepare an annual submission to the Council for expenditure within the community
  • communicate with community organisations and special interest groups within the community

Speaking at meetings
If you want to tell the Council or your community board about an issue or idea, you can seek to present information at a meeting.

When you are given permission to speak about an issue, it is called a 'deputation by appointment'. To allow enough time for questions from community board members or councillors, we advise that you keep your presentation as brief as possible. Deputations to the Council will generally only be allowed if they relate to an item on the Council's meeting agenda.

If your issue is related to something local in your street, community or neighbourhood, it is best to raise it first with your local Community Board. They can pass your concerns onto Council if necessary.

A request to speak to your community board must be lodged with the relevant Community Board Advisor. Your request should ideally be made no later than six working days before the board’s meeting and will need to be approved by the community board Chairman.

People are encouraged to keep the presentations as brief as possible, to allow plenty of time for questions from Community Board members or Councillors. Council staff will provide you with more information on meeting protocol, speaking times and presentation equipment if your request to speak has been granted.

If you would like to make a deputation in another language, sign language or Maori, we will cover the costs of the translator. Please make sure you let us know if you would like a translator.

To make a request to speak at a meeting, please contact the Council and speak to:

  • a Community Board Advisor at your local Community Board
  • a Committee Secretary (for a Committee of Council)
  • the Council Secretary (for Council Meetings)

Creating petitions
Any person or organisation can present a petition to the Council, a Council Committee or a Community Board. A petition can be about any topic that the Council is responsible for.

If you want to present a petition, it must be less than 50 words (not including signatures). You can present it yourself, or a councillor or community board   member may present it on your behalf.

Whoever presents the petition will need to read it out, along with a statement from the petitioners and advise Council of the number of signatures it contains.

To present a petition, you will need to:

  • decide on a topic for your petition and write a clear statement
  • ask others to sign your petition

Once your petition is ready to present, contact the Democratic Services at the Council or the Community Board Support Team at your local community board. They will advise you of the most appropriate meeting to present your petition and help you arrange a day and time. _At least ten working days' notice is required for a petition to be included in an agenda. _Details of the petition will be displayed on the Council website, including the primary petitioner's contact details.

You are also very welcome to contact me at anne.galloway@ccc.govt.nz

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