Council misses targets due to Covid-19 crisis

​​​​​​​Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick. Photo/Andrew Warner/NZME 

The Rotorua Lakes Council failed 43 per cent of its key performance targets in the last financial year, but the council says much of that is due to the impact of Covid-19.

In 2019/20 the council achieved 33 out of 59 key performance indicators set out in its framework, according to a report presented at an Operations and Monitoring Committee meeting on Thursday.

The indicators set the level of service the public can expect from the organisation and are a way to measure its progress. They were last set in the 2018-28 Long-Term Plan.

They measure achievement against targets in 10 areas, including roads and footpaths, sewerage and sewage, stormwater and drainage, water supplies, arts and culture and community leadership.

Stormwater and drainage, and water supplies were the only two areas where the council achieved all of its targets for the year.

Results were measured through surveys of people who used services, booking system counts, requests for service data and surveys by external organisations.

Council corporate planning and governance manager Oonagh Hopkins told the meeting the results were a reflection of the previous year, which was “unprecedented” due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our [third quarter] results indicated that at the end of that quarter we were actually well on-track to achieve the majority of the measures and at least match the overall performance of the last financial year,” Hopkins says.

The council achieved 71 per cent of its targets in 2018/19.

Rotorua Lakes Council corporate planning and governance manager Oonagh Hopkins. Photo/Andrew Warner/NZME 

“However the lockdowns, alert level 4 and on-going interruptions to our business performance have impacted significantly on many of those measures that require attendance or people-related service.” 

She says however, it did not impact all areas equally as activities that were deemed essential services under lockdown rules were not as affected.

Hopkins says customer satisfaction on library services exceeded targets, as did the Learn to Swim programme.

Community leadership - one of the measurable areas under the framework - was an “area that is always challenging”.

“Areas like engagement and the confidence in [the] council’s ability to share information and people to participate appear that, from comments and complaints that we’re receiving there may be some anecdotal evidence that is showing that overall there is uncertainty and nervousness in our community.”

She says this may have to do with Covid-19 and the socio-political and economic climate.

Customer satisfaction was also down in waste management, which she believed was influenced by Covid-19.

“It has been around collection rates and recovery rates.

"There’s been the changes to the way that recycling was undertaken during the lockdown, but those measures were put in place to look after people who needed to continue providing essential services during … lockdown.”

Mayor Steve Chadwick says there are “some very positive results” in the report, which the council accepted unanimously, noting the impact of Covid-19 on the results.

Rotorua Lakes Council chief financial officer Thomas Colle. Photo/Andrew Warner/NZME 

Council chief financial officer Thomas Colle also delivered a financial update on the organisation for the first quarter of 2020/21.

Colle’s report found council revenue and operating costs were both up, resulting in a current financial position $277,000 under budget for the period.

Colle says the result was better than had been forecast when the budget was set as part of the 2020/21 Annual Plan.

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