Council fails to follow own policies

An independent review has found Tauranga City Council failed to follow its own policies in procuring external service providers in relation to the building consents process. File photo.

An independent review into the Tauranga City Council's procuring of external services in relation to the building consents process has found they failed to comply with their own policies.

The report focused on the council's procurement and probity processes in relation to Holmes Farsight, an external provider engaged to help the council process building consent applications since 2015.

The report is the result of a review by forensic accountants Beattie Varley, whom the council engaged in June following an earlier Independent Review by BDO.

It found the council did not put contracts through an open market process, despite their costs meeting the threshold required to do so.

Chief Executive Garry Poole has welcomed the report.

“We are pleased to have this report now completed and to find that, while there were breaches of our procurement processes, there is no evidence of inappropriate behaviour or these breaches being intentional.

“I would like to thank all those who assisted in the review, and particularly Holmes Farsight for their full cooperation. The report reinforces Holmes Farsight as a competent, reliable and skilled operator, who provided essential support to Council over two years.”

Garry says the quality of the work undertaken by Holmes Farsight was not at issue. However, the review was needed to understand why correct processes were not followed and to ensure ratepayers can have confidence in the council.

“The report suggests the breaches were due to people making assumptions that internal sign-off and checks had been done by others, when they hadn't.

“It also shows the council needed urgent support to ensure it could undertake its duties as a Building Consent Authority, and Holmes Farsight provided that gap at short notice.”

According to Beattie Varley's findings, a contributing factor was the rapid increase in building consent applications, particularly in large commercial-building applications, which the council did not have specialist staff to cover.

Garry says the council is disappointed it did not follow its own policies, but has already begun work on making improvements.

“We acknowledge that we need to do better but it is pleasing to know that there was no malice involved and hopefully we have addressed concerns that people had,” he says.

“Tauranga City Council is committed to high standards and we are working with the industry and our team to ensure these are achieved. Since the BDO report was released we have had started regular engagement with the building sector.

“This report adds weight to this course of action and provides valuable insights for us going forward.”

The full report can be found here.



7 Comments

SPIN SPIN SPIN

Posted on 18-10-2017 07:56 | By waiknot

Its clear that council did not follow its own processes (see what happens if you dont) , yet somehow the Town Clark is happy. He needs to go.

Great Questions by @overit and @ Murray.Guy

Posted on 18-10-2017 00:09 | By The Caveman

But don't expect to get any answers - as noted by others, the CEO's job is up for grabs and he will not want any negative info in the public domain. And don't think about a OIA request, it will be stalled - on a "we need to gather the info" excuse.................

Jobs for the boys

Posted on 17-10-2017 13:37 | By Maryfaith

....... nothing changes. The developers run this city!

tgacentral

Posted on 17-10-2017 12:05 | By overit

look at the bigger picture here - breaches, lack of engagement with the building sector, lack of specialist staff. Tell me again why we need a CEO.

@Overit

Posted on 17-10-2017 11:04 | By tgacentral

The process with Homes Farsight enabled the council to keep up with building consent demand during a boom period. Building consents are predominantly developer funded. I assume you were referring to the BDO review process.. Lucky you're not the CEO of council if you can't even keep up with the article you just read.

It's a re-written white wash folks!

Posted on 17-10-2017 10:39 | By Murray.Guy

Unfortunately reality is far removed from the 'final draft' of the report. The community who does the paying will never see the report in it's final or 'first draft' state. The report was sought by the CEO in response to very real issues of concern within Council for which the CEO Garry Poole is responsible. The CEO is not about to undermine his role, his job security and 'application for another 5 years. Clearly the CEO has a conflict of interest and should NOT be 'in any way' managing and manipulating this. THIS IS A FUNCTION of the Mayor and Councillors that they seemingly refuse to fulfill, the effective, proactive monitoring of processes and outcomes for which the CEO is responsible. Some elected members campaigned on having 'Activity Area Portfolios' for elected members top enhance oversight and outcomes. It seems like so many other promises.

Excuse me

Posted on 17-10-2017 08:15 | By overit

Garry you are the CEO, you should be aware of whats going on under your roof. I am sure there were plenty of complaints. So what did this process with Holmes Fairsight cost ratepayers?

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