Ian Caplin: Kia ora and welcome to the programme. You’re watching G-Reg, the Government Regulatory Practice Initiative. My name is Ian Caplin, and if you’ve just joined us for the first time, this is episode seven in a series of 10 webinars, which, taken together across the month of October, and as we now very deeply find ourselves, November, form the 2020 G-Reg annual conference.
It’s the sixth conference year, but the first year that we’ve done it this way. G-Reg is the world’s first and only cross government professional user network for those who exercise the coercive, facilitative and anything else-ive powers of the state. It’s a phrase I don’t apologize for using virtually every episode because it really captures, at least in some ways, the broad range of what regulators do -everything involving the business of government. And we’re based here in New Zealand.
And we welcome our New Zealand audience, but we also welcome our international audience across a number of time zones, not least because you might be watching the live or recorded versions of these, which go out in public. I always say without hesitation, wherever and whenever you are, you’re very welcome here.
The theme is the modern regulator. It’s the conference theme. And if you’ve missed the first six episodes, don’t worry, you’re, you’re not caught short, for a number of reasons. First of all, we’ll be populating our website with the back catalogue. We’re already doing that now. We might even be doing that, even as we speak. And also, the conference series has been designed so that while the overall story arc is about the modern regulator as a theme, within it, you can access in any order the particular webinars that you’re looking for. So you can watch them, as I say, in any order that you want. Now this week, we’re looking at wellbeing and we’ve actually got a double bill of webinars this week. Tomorrow, we’ll be looking at personal wellbeing – regulators regulating themselves, because they need to look after themselves.
And today we’re looking at environmental wellbeing, although I’m actually being a bit cute with the title because the title is really local networks, but it’s about how local networks were formed with and by local authorities, after a number of reports that made certain statements and a number of needs and a number of resource difficulties about environmental regulation. So what happened when a series, if I can use a popular cultural analogy, when, as it were, Batman, Wonder Woman and, because it’s the environment, Aquaman, join together and decide that they no longer want to be sole operators and heroic themselves, they actually need to join the Justice League and form it.
Our next guests may have left their capes in another part of the office, but they’re very equipped to help us with that question and so much more. They’ll tell you about themselves in just a second. Tracy Tierney from Timaru District Council and Paul Cooper from Waimate District Council will be talking on this subject. Now, as always, I would just say to you, members of the audience, don’t be shy. There’s a Q and A box below.
If you want to ask a question or lodge a comment at any time – it’s very much a family show – please feel free to do so, even while the presenters are, as it were, on foot, because we’ll come to you afterwards.
So without further ado, I’m going to hand over to Tracy and Paul, a very warm welcome to you both.
Tracy Tierney: Thanks Ian, real pleasure to be here. I went to my first G-Reg conference in real land, I think, back in Christchurch a couple of years ago. So it’s a real privilege to be invited back to come and speak to everyone and along with my colleague, Paul Cooper.
Paul Cooper: Just working out the mute button. Yes, Good morning, and it’s great to be here to talk about what we’ve been working on the last couple of years here in Canterbury. And just a quick introduction; My background is one of a military career early on, followed by 15 years in the New Zealand police, most of which was the CIB, and as of 2013 I’ve been working in the local government sector, formerly with Timaru with Tracy, and now here at Waimate District Council, so that’s me.
Tracy Tierney: And a little bit about my background. So my career in local government actually started as an elected member. So I was an elected member at Timaru District Council for seven years and got totally bitten by the local government bug, and when the opportunity came up for the role of Group Manager of Environmental Services within the regulatory area, was lucky enough to get selected for that role. So that’s where I’ve been for the last three and a half years.
So it has been really interesting to come from an elected member perspective into a regulatory space which is I suspect part of the reason why I was tapped on the shoulder as part of this project. So we’ll, we’ll get into it. I’ll do, you know, the classic: we’ve got to put a slide up there and show some pretty pictures, so hopefully my IT skills and everyone can see that.
So again, we’ll just kick off. I guess the key thing around this, is why did we embark on this journey?. I did somewhat jokingly say just before, because we were told to, and I think everyone in the regulatory space can relate to that, but really it was because there was a really strong need. So those reports out there, which I’m sure some will be familiar with, really didn’t paint a great picture in terms of compliance and enforcement and have to say, particularly in the local government sector, when it came to environmental issues.
The chief executives’ forum in Canterbury, which is a strong group, that came to their attention and the chair of policy group at the time was Bill Bayfield, said, no, we’ve got to pull together, and we’ve got to do something about this. So those systemic issues that were in CME, we could definitely identify that they were there, so they were really the key drivers and still those reports, I was looking through them the other day, still are a high level of relevance. We’ve definitely made progress, but I think there’s still a lot more for us to do on this journey.
I guess the key things or as we pointed out there, there was a heck of a lot of variance. My experience since I’ve been involved is that CME is often not seen as a high priority in most councils. It’s not always supported by governance and I think part of that is that there’s a fear that if you become heavy handed in that space that it will somehow undermine economic activity. So certainly, I’d experienced that around the council table.
And seriously, when I came through on this side I had members of the regulatory team who felt some level of political concern around them undertaking CME roles, but that was only one part of it. A lot of those reasons there, was just a lack of resourcing. So again when there’s a fight on for FTE, compliance tended to go to the bottom of the list. And again, this was across many councils in New Zealand, and I think it was quite telling, the stat there, that you know 39 out of 62 TA’s had less than one FTE for CME.
So clearly, to try and do that role adequately, there just wasn’t enough people, but also skills and training, and that’s where G-Reg has, I think, really started to have a role to play in terms of providing some framework and training, so that’s been really good. So they’re probably the key findings out of those reports, among many others.
So what did we do in response in Canterbury? Again, as I said, the CE, it was great that CE forum, because they saw the need and it really needed to start from the top. So they established that working group and I got the call from the then chair Bill Bayfield to say surely you’d be keen and enthusiastic to get on board with that, and given I was a relatively new GM and keen to, you know, seek approval and to do my job, I lapped it up. Little did I know how much it was going to involve. But we got that group up and going, and I guess the key output was that strategic compliance framework, we wanted to come out with a way without being really dictatorial to TA’s about how we wanted to look at the why and the approach and get some consistency.
And we really, the other key thing was, a lot of those reports really focus on environmental issues, and of course the Regional Council was really focused on that. But for the TA’s, when we actually got together in a room, a lot of the drivers were CME and other areas, because we have the full range. So we have animal control, building, parking, health, all of those areas we identified who are going to actually have an approach to CME, we needed to be inclusive of those things.
So that was certainly a key driver and I think consistency, so trying to get some consistency. And really importantly, make sure that there was a pathway to upskill people. I don’t know about the experience in other places, but it can sometimes be seen as a less of a skilled professional job than some other aspects of council and we really wanted to change that perception, because, as we well know, it takes a heck of a lot of personal, professional skills to do those roles well.
I think one of the key things that why it worked and why we managed to get that strategy together was that we insisted that people who were part of that working group were decision makers. So they were at a level
in their organisations where they could actually drive the development and drive implementation. Now that wasn’t easy at times, because depending on the priority that a council had, it was the proverbial we’re a bit busy and we’ll just send, you know, somebody along, so we very quickly tried to make sure that the right people were in the room, so that was a key focus.
I think the key thing to is to make sure and provide reassurance that in development of the strategy, you didn’t lose your local approach to how that was actually implemented, and Paul’s going to talk a bit more about that, how that transpired from a Waimate District Council perspective.
One of the other key program outcomes was to get our elected members on board. So Paul and I started that, actually attended the mayoral forum, Canterbury mayoral forum, where the mayors and CE’s attend, and had a really, really productive session with them around what was the need, why were we doing this and really importantly, what the benefit was for them in their community?.
And one of the key things we had in that presentation, was “policeman versus guardians” so often we’re perceived as being policemen, when in fact we’re trying to be guardians of the district and make sure that actually the rules are there to protect amenity, to protect the environment to let everyone enjoy their place. We’ve actually got a key role to play as guardians. It’s not people peddling up a drive on their bike with their clipboards.
So that got a lot of support, and that provided the opportunity for presentations in local councils to again understand and explain the strategy. So that, in a very high level nutshell, has been where it’s at. We’ve gotten a network together on, I think, two occasions now of CME people actually working on the ground. They’ve never collectively got together in Canterbury, so we did a workshop day for them. They are really keen to keep that going, and that just has become a logistical challenge through Covid, but something we know we need to get back into. So yeah, that’s, I guess for me those key drivers, and I think at that point we’ll hand over to my colleague, Paul to talk about how that’s been for Waimate.
Paul Cooper: Yeah, thanks very much Tracy. So, as Tracy alluded to, I started this process working for Tracy, she was my manager at Timaru. I was just supporting her and what she was doing as chair on that working Group. I’ve since become a group manager here at Waimate, then became that decision maker, so some of this is about timing and some of it is about the opportunity that presented along with that move.
But I don’t think it can be understated, the importance of building that guardianship narrative to reassure elected members that we weren’t police as they like to call us all. They did prior to this bit of work. We were actually, if it wasn’t going to be us that has this guardianship role, then who is it? So it really did come down to us.
The gap was clearly stated by central government in these three reports and it needed to be remedied. So it was about how we could bring that together and this group did a really good job of that under Tracy’s stewardship. So, in Waimate, so as I said, I left in late 2018, I left Timaru District Council and came to Waimate District Council. And if you could go to the next slide, Tracy, that’d be great. Or go back, should I say, thanks very much.
Yeah so, what was described as some of the problems in the sector in those reports – we had met the target market, if you like, of those reports. We’ve never had a CME professional on the team, we had, the area had been under resourced traditionally for some time. We didn’t have much expertise in house for dealing with CME matters. And so those practitioners that were doing CME when they were, really was in response to issues, that as they arose. There was very little proactive stuff happening. When those issues were responded to, the people that went out to deal with it weren’t necessarily the best equipped people to do that role.
As it turns out, the Council, it’s probably a decade ago, if not more, was burned through an enforcement action that was taken on should we say a foundation that wasn’t solid, and then when they got to court that became apparent and it was basically thrown out of court and costs awarded to the other side, the subject of the complaint and that cost this Council in excess of half a million dollars, which for a small council is a serious amount. That’s several percent on a rates rise in a single year, for example. So, you can understand why this organisation had this in it’s memory, if you like, and why it was very gun shy when it came to matters about enforcement and compliance and monitoring.
What this did do is these reports that were a national level through the working group, provided an opportunity to pull together best practice from across not only the sector, but from across other government agencies, so we brought together, we use the VADE model from MPI. We brought in risk profiling and risk matrices from other places, we used a little bit from Queenstown Lakes, their enforcement policy, we just pulled the best practice from everywhere, PEACE interviewing from the police, and we had it all together in a repository that we then put into a strategic framework and it was that, that was the buffer or smorgasbord, if you like, that was going to provide for that local element of how we all aligned with the strategy.
So, what I did then at Waimate, having identified the gap and work with this group, was put a business case together. And I was quite lucky really, having Bill Bailey at the head of ECan at the time, as well as being the sponsor of this working group because I caught him over a sticky bun after a policy meeting one lunchtime and had a word in his ear about maybe part sharing a role, and so ECan could part fund this compliance officer role and we would have an MOU, rather than working for both.
So technically he worked for Waimate District Council, the compliance officer, but one day a week would be given over, cross warranted to the Regional Council. And that answered a number of problems, for ECan as well as for us. For example, we were fending a lot of calls about crop burn offs, crop residue burn offs at that particular time of year, that were causing problems with smoke drifting into town, dropping ash on washing and cars and things like that.
So, and this was a problem for ECan because of their geographic location and Timaru being 40 kms up the road, they were unable to police those burns as they were happening, because by the time they got there, they were gone. So when we did pitch this idea they were keen and Bill saw the advantage of addressing some of those issues that belonged to ECan.
So what I had to do in the business case was weave some, all these different threads together and take council on a journey, and I presented it together with an enforcement policy that was developed in line with the strategic document and presented it as a package to elected members at Council meeting, and it was very well received and I think something, presenting to the mayoral forum probably helped with that, because obviously we had the CEs and the mayors on board at that point.
But it was, I think, there was only one vote against it, and that was, when I spoke to that elected member afterwards to say, you know, what were your concerns; it was more about the sharing with another Council and the muddying the waters or the potential for that. But part of the business plan was such that we paid a little bit more for this person so that we could get the right person and have the right skill set because it had to be a success.
It was the first time we’d gone into this area and the person had to be a good fit, who can sit across both councils, do both sets of work and be trusted, and that’s how it’s panned out. So the CME role was approved, we advertised, we got a very well qualified person in that role with a great set of skills and we began about just over a year ago, 18 months ago and it’s been a great success.
So, and as I said, there’s many facets that have gone into that. Some things that we found out that, why we’re thinking worked so successfully is because we’ve actually developed good relationships with senior managers
and ECan and likewise, them with us and we have a high trust environment for this role to sit across both organizations. And we also have an MOU that gives us peace of mind and of course the enforcement policy which very much aligns with that of ECan, which was the whole point of the working group in this exercise.
So in a nutshell, that’s kind of how we approached it and it’s been a great success, and it continues to be so. I know that ECan are thrilled with the outcome and are talking to other TAs about the opportunities for doing similar things elsewhere. But yeah, that’s about it from me, that’s the Waimate story as far as that compliance officer role goes and how we achieved that through this working group. Tracy, back to you.
Tracy Tierney: Thanks Paul, and I think, again, that we’re touching on at a high level, but it has activated a lot of change. We know there are other councils who have got additional FTE in place now, and the other thing has been the level of networking. So we’ve got, we certainly increased our overall CME number of team members and ECan are hosting three day investigation skills courses to kind of share their knowledge and where we’ve had a difficult case, we’ve now got a relationship base, that they can be a soundboard and provide support for our guys.
So, it’s just going from, you know, slowly but surely, from strength to strength and I think giving people the confidence that we can do this and that we’re being consistent and that, you know, we’re lifting that level of our profession and the windfall for the community, is that we are being good guardians. So yeah, that’s our journey so far.
Ian Caplin: I think that’s my cue, Paul and Tracy, thank you very much indeed. Lots in there. Members of the audience, do please open fire with your questions, I’ve got plenty but I’m very happy to be moved out of the way by you. Just one thing, Paul and Tracy, perhaps you can both take this – the idea of regulatory stewardship is something which this conference audience, who’ve seen the previous webinars, will be very familiar with. We’ve devoted a couple of explicit webinars to the theme and we’ve been talking about it really right along, and the other, I guess it’s a synonym that you use; guardianship, and you were very keen particular, you Tracy, to say, we’re guardians not policemen or police women. Can you develop that a bit more, particularly when you’re talking about dealing with elected officials, which is an interesting stakeholder set.
Tracy Tierney: So it’s been fundamental to how what I’ve tried to do in our group here, because it can be, it can be so potentially so negative. People don’t necessarily see the benefits of the value to the community in CME, so when we kind of flipped that, and said, actually, we’ve got a guardianship role, why do we exist, why are we here? We’re guardians for our community to enjoy their land, their businesses, their amenities.
And it was like a lightbulb moment for elected members, because, for them, they’re really interested in: where’s the value, what’s this doing for our community? Prior to that, it’d been very much around, oh we have to, because the rule book says, where in fact, the legislation exists for a reason. So that has really and continues to be cornerstone, and now hearing, you know, I’ve had occasion to hear elected members talk about that when they get faced by, you know, people in the community saying, but why are you doing this? You go, ‘we’ve got a guardianship role.’ So, it has changed the narrative for better.
Ian Caplin: I think it also brings in shades of regulatory stewardship as well. I’ll just leap on to the point about networking to you, Paul, because you were talking about the meeting of mayors and CE’s and the fact that that room had been walked when all of this with being set up. What do you say the value is of, if you like, grooming the room and just doing that warm up basic networking work?
Paul Cooper: It’s incredibly valuable, and I think that work has to be done before you can embark on a project like what we have done. The bringing the CEs and Mayors on board early was helped by having the leadership for this working group coming from that body through the CE’s forum, so, and it was right from the start, there was an understanding that we’d identified the gaps, we knew what they were, it was basically a ‘how.’
So those relationships were developed at that level, that reassurance was given, and then that provided the mandate for this group to go out and do further networking and further work towards the goal. So I think you can’t embark on this kind of project without having senior leadership and governance in behind you. So you have to, you have to do that work up front. Yeah.
Ian Caplin: And it’s vital work and I’m just leaping slightly sideways to capability Tracy, to what you said, thank you for the plug about G-Reg, your cheque is in the post. It really riffs off, particularly the last episode, but one, when we had the CAA in talking about capability frameworks.
The idea that people are going through a pathway, the idea that regulation is very much a profession of its own, and Tracy, a lot of what you said really resonated with that and you could have even been presenting episode five, I don’t know, did you want to add anything else?
Tracy Tierney: Yeah, I think we found that crucial right from the start to sit and say; what is the framework? G-Reg had the framework, and then we had a team who in the working group, who looked at it what does that then look like, what are the other training and skill sets, you might have at different levels of competency. So we didn’t, we made it a bit more fluid, but it absolutely guided kind of expectations, but importantly provided a pathway.
And I think particularly in the TAs where the compliance professionals across such a wide range, and it can get quite siloed, so animal control, not necessarily relating at those skills can be very similar to building control compliance or to health, actually when you strip it away, they are more similar than they are dissimilar.
So I think that and we’re still going down that pathway, because I have to also say, some people are in those roles and want to stay in that safe place, and are potentially a bit resistant to seeing that journey ahead of them. So, I think there’s far more upside and I think the level of professionalism and then pride that they take in their role, and recognition that it is a professional occupation and, you know, some of the most skilled people, I see across many activities in council, will be the ones who do see me on a day in day out basis they learn how to, how to read people and work with people and find resolutions.
Ian Caplin: Absolutely and I make an unashamedly commercial break, plug for G-Reg qualifications which go to accentuate that and you can find out all about that, members of the audience, if you haven’t already, on the G-Reg website. If you’ve got any questions, just pop them on the website and somebody will be able to take care of them.
I’m looking, now I’m going to give way and put our guests in the care of the audience, because there’s a stream of questions, and what I do add also is you get to see me jump around a bit. If you put the thumbs up sign, if you particularly want a question answered, because then it votes it and ranks it, lots on elections at the moment, of course.
The first one which has the most votes from Dan, to you both. What support do you need and look for from central agencies? I mean, a lot of what you both said of course is exportable across the entire sector in terms of [inaudible], but I guess in terms of the support institutionally that you need to look for from central government. Paul, I’ll start that with you.
Paul Cooper : Yeah, well it’s a very good question, and I think best demonstrated, possibly by when we did present to the mayoral forum, we actually invited Jos Fryer from EPA to come and present with us. So, so we had the national viewpoint being presented, the regional and the local if you like, so, and I think having Jos there for that presentation was very important and it helped us get this across the line and get that support to then take back to our individual organisations.
Ian Caplin: And it’s being connected widely, isn’t it, because it’s a, you’ve got the local network within the part of the country, but it’s always keeping in touch with the central elements as well and potentially growing that network as presumably on the side too.
Paul Cooper: Absolutely.
Ian Caplin: I pick that point up as well and take it to Tracy, just add in something that viewers may have recalled about regulatory entrepreneurial-ism – apart from that’s a mouthful of a phrase – in episode one – where we were talking about leveraging on the networks that are already hiding in plain sight. I’m going to twist the question a bit for you, Tracy, because, you know, you’ve got these pre-existing networks. How much of that was an exercise in using what you already had rather than creating fresh networks?
Tracy Tierney: I think there was a level of that. But to be honest, like everywhere, we tend to be head down, bum up in our own little worlds and actually it provided, what I found was when we started reaching out to my colleagues in other councils, they hadn’t really connected before. There’d been connections at other levels, but not at that kind of senior strategic kind of viewpoint. So there were lots of informal knowing of people but not
leveraging that network. So I think, you know, it’s about how do you add value in our sector, in terms of entrepreneurialism, it’s more how do you add value. How are we going to find different ways in our structure to do it? So we all know the values of networks, but it was a case where it wasn’t, it’s got to lift up a few notches. So people who had people to call and have a bit of a sounding board, but actually it needed a bit more in terms of that leadership piece.
Ian Caplin: Yeah, and I guess, back, back to Dan’s question which I inadvertently hijacked – how can central government help with that or generally?
Tracy Tierney: Well, I think, again, like when we approached MfE, so totally on board. I mean, they probably had some, not that [inaudible], there are some views on lack of activity from TAs for example, but actually when we started talking to them, our goals were completely aligned, our drivers were probably a bit different. So again, it’s about saying, where can you add value?
It’s not about you know, you don’t want to kind of waste people’s time and have them coming to endless meetings for no reason, but keeping them tapped in, keeping them knowing what we’re doing and then being able to put their hand up and say, well, did you know we can help you here and there, is always that value. We are all delivering to the same communities, we’ve just got different drivers.
Ian Caplin: Absolutely, different hats, different capes and different costumes. To Kirsty and her question, which is extremely popular; is there anything else that you did to change the behaviour of the community, for example, in regard to burn offs? And how did you measure that change to know you’ve been effective, and it’s in an absolutely classic and very important theme in terms of behavioural insights, behavioural innovation, and generally, how do you measure this stuff? So, to Kirsty’s question, Paul, what do you say?
Paul Cooper: I say, very good question. But firstly Jos, of course, deliberate mistake. Not with the EPA, with Ministry for the Environment. But to answer the question, well, one of the things that we did was the mayor of Waimate, together with senior politicians in MacKenzie and Timaru got together, with ECan, Federated Farmers, the arable farming representative organisation, FENZ and a number of other agencies, we all came together and talked about the problem because it was a significant problem, the season before last.
And we decided that we’re going to all go away and do a little bit and
there was an education component, there was fed farmers and fire, were going to write to their members about best practice. FENZ were going to share more information, and so that little network was happening to the side.
In terms of what we did on the ground; our compliance officer started about that time and then came in and made a real difference for Waimate district we think. Capturing the data has been very difficult and I’m not sure how we do that other than we know who’s lodged a plan with FENZ but we don’t know when exactly they’re going to have that fire, or how well it went, if it complied in terms of smoke.
So what the compliance officer did; he front footed it and went out, because his office is pretty much on the road. He would see when a field was being prepared for burning, he would then just go into that farm, chew the fat with the farm manager, hand over some educational material.
If they didn’t have a plan, permit, registered with FENZ, he would tell them how to do that, and it just front footed the exercise and made them more aware of what was happening and I can’t say that’s what made the difference, but the season following that was, we had hardly any complaints and it was a far better season.
In terms of saying what’s the weather, and what those factors were that made the difference, it’s hard to say, but I do know that that front footing and doing all that work in a positive way was well received by the sector, and I think it made a difference. Yeah.
Ian Caplin: And that’s helpful to understand, Paul. And it is a tricky one. And Tracy, to you on that because the pre-emptive education action is one important thing. Sometimes I guess we in the regulatory community – all of us watching this, all of us together, have to distinguish between, if you like, the measurement in the shift in behaviours, as it’s certainly been put to me, it’s almost a different science. How do you begin from your perspective, Tracy, to measure behavioural shifts and presumably it isn’t an exact science, or at least if it is, it’s a very tricky one.
Tracy Tierney: [inaudible] as I was reflecting when I was listening to Paul, look, we followed that when I first arrived, we used to talk about a graduated model, graduated response model, really what that meant was, unless somebody makes a complaint and we’ll go out and have a bit of a chat, it was pretty much where a lot of our work ended, because of lack of resource, lack of desire and drive.
I think as we progress forward, we’ve done the two things, the education and a lot more of actually proactively monitoring of consent, so we’ve never had resource for that before. So a lot of that has been, did you even know you’ve got some things you need to comply with. So we’ve done education piece.
But equally, and it’s always a difficult one because I don’t know that our elected members would see it as a measure of success, but we have taken, we have stepped up and not been afraid to step up through the enforcement pathway. So we have certainly had a high level of enforcement right through prosecution that we’ve not had before.
And I think part of that does send a message around what your community needs to understand that there are consequences and that you’re not, depending on your risk basis, you’re not going to sit down in the reactive low ended graduated model. So that is one of the measures, but it’s right alongside the, you know, substantial increase and proactive consultation and monitoring of a lot of these things. So they’re probably two of the, you know, ends of the seesaw. But they’re two of the measures that we’ve been able to track.
Ian Caplin: Absolutely and it’s very much the responsive regulator, which we looked at, way back in episodes two and three, and you can refresh your memory again, members of the audience, or watch it for the first time on the G-Reg website.
The other thing that just occurs as we talk about this is how much do you, members of the audience, look at behavioural insight, behavioural innovation, looking to shift behaviour change in that way. And is it something that you’d like to see perhaps a G-Reg piece of work on, or a continuing education workshop.
You can find out more about our continuing education workshops on the website. And if there’s anything else that you’d like in terms of content, again, get in touch with us. I’m not going to swamp this with commercial breaks, that’s all from me on those. We’re going to go to another question from Grant.
Both presenters mentioned the importance of a strong sponsor for the project in terms of kick off – a strong sponsor. And what tips are there, what techniques are there, that you both have in terms of maintaining and sustaining the interest and support over time. It’s a very good question, isn’t it, because, you know, there’s this initial rush and flush potentially, but it’s actually keeping the momentum going and the stakeholder and sponsor interest. Tracy, to you on that.
Tracy Tierney: Look, that is always tough. And I think the thing about this one was when you – my view on it was – get in, get done, get out. Because we’re all busy people and because we had the decision makers there, you know, you’re always pressed for that time and that energy. So I think trying to, I was really clear at the start, that we’re not going to be still sitting here talking about this stuff in three or four years’ time. We’re going to get it to that framework, get those key outcomes. And then what you do with it. Go forth, be blessed and make the most of it.
So I think that actually helped because people were like, yep, thanks, get it. And then there’s all that normal bit about, you know, sponsor it and the end day, gotta sell it, sell the benefits, remind people why you’re actually doing this. We’re not just ticking a box. There’s actually some benefit and value in it and then you got the old, your old, kick ass and just get it done. But for me, you had to gather key people around you.
So Paul was key, he was right in from the start. He had a lot of knowledge to bring to the table. So in that group there’s invariably two or three who just get captured by it. So it’s all of those levels to actually get it to achieve. And it’s really satisfying where you can go, there’s still lots more we could do, but we’ve achieved that mandate, we’ll let it go and provide our support, as opposed to keeping that working group going.
Ian Caplin: Tempting to hang around, though, isn’t it.
Tracy Tierney: Yeah.
Ian Caplin: Paul, what are your thoughts?
Tracy Tierney: I’m sorry what was that?
Ian Caplin: [inaudible] Paul for his thoughts, as someone who was in on the beginning.
Paul Cooper: Yeah, I personally, that level of seniority in a room. I know it’s a lot of horsepower. It’s a lot of important people’s time in one room but I found it incredibly valuable just just sharing the stuff over a sticky bun, which is almost as important as what you’re talking about in the meetings, half the time. So I do miss that aspect of it, but like Tracy said, very busy people, lots to do, so job done, high fives. Let’s go back [inaudible] work. Yeah.
Ian Caplin: As long as there are sticky buns at work and the final question is really just on everything that you’ve said, but looking at the kind of the range – I know it’s going to be a very broad range – a question from Paul here.
The example of burn offs that you’ve given is very helpful in the sector in which you’re operating. Are there any other similar examples that you have that you’d apply these issues to and I’ll start Paul with you.
Paul Cooper: Well, we’ve never had a compliance officer. So this was new ground for us here at Waimate District Council so he’s made a huge difference, he’s taken a significant amount of weight off people in the organization, so they can focus on their other aspects of their roles. He’s brought that expertise in so that when those people do have to be involved in enforcement or compliance matters, they’ve got that, that support who can help them with that process, but also out in the field, there was so much that wasn’t happening just because resources weren’t there and pressures from elsewhere, as they always do, crept up and CME is the poor cousin, and often get squeezed down as Tracy said. So, so he made an immediate impact. For example, we have about 40 dairy crossings in the districts and there’s a byelaw supporting that and rules around how the signage works, the fact it’s got to be manned, the condition of the road, all that sort of stuff.
And we charge, we charge them whatever it was, about four or five hundred dollars for a license to use that crossing and that hadn’t been done for two or three years. So there was an immediate impact on revenue coming in. But more than that, there was a relationship with the farmers, there was the, it was more, it was on a level rather than, so it was relationship building.
It wasn’t necessarily that CME function, as you’d think of it. But what it’s done is it’s lifted standards in the District considerably and the role’s only been there, like I say, about just over a year. So yeah, it’s making, making a big difference. And we’re all quite happy with it here.
Ian Caplin: It sounds like it and it’s a lovely place to leave it, making a good impact, relationships and on to the next thing. And also, of course, sticky buns.
Both to Paul and Tracy, thank you both very much indeed. Well, members of the audience, it’s time for you to do a little bit of work in terms of dealing with our questionnaire which our producer Felix is about to put on, which really is boiling down to this using a light touch superhero theme; what have you picked up about forming networks from this particular webinar and how has it helped you?
If you could complete that it will be good for us to know and as I’ve said, if there’s anything else you’d like us to know, the G-Reg website really is the place to go. We carry on tomorrow with regulation of a different kind, possibly, the hardest thing there is for a regulator to regulate: themselves, in terms of their own wellbeing. But until then, until next time, from all of us here, stay well, thank you very much and ka kite ano.