Getting Closer to Communities: The Warmth of Community Well-being in the Local Government Act 2002
The reintroduction of community well-being as a purpose, into the Local Government Act 2002, has created the opportunity for the Councils to engage with their communities in a more holistic way. Although the Councils are consulting within their jurisdictions, this is currently more focused on the core services delivered or assets managed by them. With the community well-being framework in place, the Councils will be able to monitor the developments within their communities from a social, economic, environmental, and cultural perspective. It will enable them to participate on the ground level and to raise the volume with the central government agencies on what matters most for their communities.
The enabling factor for this conversation to happen is sitting with the extensiveness of community engagement from the Council side. Through these engagements, the Councils will be able to identify and prioritise the outcomes which their communities’ value. These outcomes will be impacting on the Council business as to what and how they will deliver the core services.
In this thesis, we will be looking into the history and role of community well-being in the Local Government Act 2002, and its evolution into the Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Act 2019. Along with it, we intend to identify a framework and a set of indicators on community well-being which are common across the local government sector.
This research will primarily help the staff members of the Councils to grasp the dynamics of community well-being and to incorporate it in their various strategic plans and reports. Secondly, it will help the community organisations and contractors to work more closely with the Councils and see how they can have a more positive impact on their communities. Thirdly, this piece will seek to align the well-being work of the local government sector with the work currently undergoing at the central government level; specifically, the Living Standards Framework (LSF) at The Treasury and Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand (IANZ) at Statistics New Zealand.