DCC: Services and development #staffappointment

Simon Pickford [stuff.co.nz] 2Dunedin City Council – Media Release
DCC General Manager Services and Development Appointed

This item was published on 30 Jul 2014

A new General Manager Services and Development has been appointed at the DCC, filling a position vacated by Dr Sue Bidrose after she was appointed CEO. The position is to be filled by Simon Pickford, who is currently the Manager of Executive Services at New Plymouth District Council – an Executive Leadership Team role which has seen him responsible for corporate planning and policy, long-term planning, communications, legal services, iwi relations and democratic services. Dr Bidrose says Mr Pickford will bring an excellent mix of skills and experience to his new role.

“Since leaving the private sector and coming into local government in 2002, he has worked in a range of roles across the sector, from community planning and engagement to regulatory services, customer services, and arts and culture. I am sure this cross-sector experience will be valuable to both Mr Pickford and the DCC when he takes on his new position here.”

His previous role at NPDC was Manager Customer and Regulatory Services, which included building, planning, consents, animal control, environmental health and parking, front of house and call centre operations. Prior to this he worked at Puke Ariki, New Plymouth’s combined library and museum. He has also undertaken the role of Acting Director of the Govett Brewster Art Gallery. Mr Pickford originally moved from the UK to New Zealand in 1998. In the UK his roles included Commissioning Editor for Elsevier Science, a publishing group in London.

Mr Pickford will take up his role at the DCC in early October.
Contact Acting Chief Executive on 03 477 4000.

DCC Link


### stuff.co.nz Last updated 17:22 30/07/2014
New Plymouth council manager heads south (via Taranaki Daily News)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: stuff.co.nz – Simon Pickford (re-imaged by Whatifdunedin)


Filed under Business, DCC, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, What stadium

29 responses to “DCC: Services and development #staffappointment

  1. ### dunedintv.co.nz November 6, 2014 – 7:36pm
    Nightly interview: Simon Pickford
    The Dunedin City Council has appointed a new general manager of services and development. Simon Pickford took up the role in early October, and he joins us to talk about how it’s going.

  2. Elizabeth

    [click to enlarge]

    According to the chart and Reports in public domain at the DCC website:
    Chief Executive [Sue Bidrose] > General Manager Services and Development [Simon Pickford] > Group Manager Regulatory Services [Adrian Blair] > Building Services Manager [Neil McLeod]


    Delays causing issues for large and small building firms.

    Mon, 4 Apr 2016
    ODT: Consent delay dissatisfaction
    Dunedin builders are frustrated by delays in the Dunedin City Council’s building consent processes which have caused some consents to blow out by more than twice the legal expectation. Consents are meant to be processed within 20 working days of acceptance. At present, the average consent is taking 24.5 days. More than a quarter are over the statutory limit and one consent is out to 52 days.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Some people have such suspicious minds.
      From that article:
      “The Otago Daily Times understands many within the industry believe the council is using requests for information to extend their deadlines.”
      As if!

    • Diane Yeldon

      Good to see a DCC organisational chart. I’ve looked for one on the DCC website and not found it. And the name of the person currently in the role is not that easy to discover either. Having this infornation readily available allows it to be scrutinized publicly. Is that a bad thing? The first thing I notice when I look at this chart is where ‘Enterprise Dunedin’ is positioned. On the first level on management below the CEO. Really? Does this reflect the importance attached to this activity (and by who exactly?) and the amount of money allocated to it? The $790,000 EXTRA alluded to at last meeting of the full council. Extra to what?
      And the name ‘Enterprise Dunedin’ doesn’t really sound like a local government project. Should it be perhaps more transparently named something like DCC Economic Development Project? Is it totally DCC funded? Has the DCC perhaps been captured by the local business lobby for so long that this set up has become institutionalised and so not sufficiently questioned?
      No doubt plenty more can be deduced, suspected or questioned with an up-to-date organisational chart in the public domain. Above is just an example. The way information is organised has a huge bearing on how it is understood. Am not being negatively suspicious. I just don’t think participatory democracy works well without ongoing public engagement and scrutiny. Think any big organisation needs to work constantly on how it presents information. DCC in the past certainly had a reputation for obfuscation.

      • Elizabeth

        Diane, the DCC organisational chart is hidden in the Long Term Plan (from where I got the url for embedding here)…. ridiculous, I know – should be up front on their website.

        All you have to do is google *dcc organisational chart* – much quicker than hounding through DCC website.

        Url with ^spaces [prevents embedding again here]
        https:// ^www. ^dunedin.govt.nz ^/__data/assets/image/0007/509074/DCC-Org-Chart-large.jpg

        When the new director took over Enterprise DUD it was claimed by main stream media the salary position was worth about the same as the GM Infrastructure and Networks (at the time).

    • Diane Yeldon

      Like all local authorities, the DCC are victims of vast legal requirements imposed on them from above by central government. So central government makes the rules but local government has to administer and implement that at local cost. (A bit like GST being a pain in the neck for small businesses because they not only have to pay the tax but also calculate and collect it themselves.) And now central government says, “Hurry up.” But local government still has to keep its costs down.
      I think we currently have what amounts to an imperialistic relationship between local authorities and central government ie mostly about power and control. A lot of this compliance paperwork which slows projects down exists only for the sake of nationwide uniformity. And why is that a good thing? Why shouldn’t regions have greater autonomy and self-determination? If we had a central government that saw itself more as the head of a national federation, existing to serve and protect regions, instead of exploiting them (as I think happens now), then I think local government really would be able to cut out a lot of the red tape and the associated time-consuming and expensive paperwork and the delays caused. Central government is presently imposing huge hidden taxation on regions with all its plethora of national and regional plans and strategies.

      • Elizabeth

        Diane, but we’re talking about Building Consents which must be subject to full processing for very good reason imposed by Central Govt – and, Local Govt would be too fickle in running their own ships without legislation and statutory regulation from above (New Zealand Building Act 2004 and subsequent Building Amendment Act 2013, new regulations introduced on January 1, 2015….). Hello leaky buildings. Earthquake strengthening. And now, hello substandard imported materials and fixtures. On it goes.

        Workflows (in Consents) are periodically difficult as applications ebb and flow due to, broadly, the market (supply and demand), the construction year, availability of finance, materials, labour – you name it. And the shortage (not just at DCC – nationwide) of experienced building inspectors which training and upskilling will hopefully get on top of. Building Inspector is on one of Immigration New Zealand’s skill shortage lists and the industry welcomes international applications.

        • Diane Yeldon

          I think the DCC may have been contracting to do other LTAs’ building consents because of this seasonal variation in workload. Agree that some of the planning and regulation protects the public. Some of it.

        • Elizabeth

          DCC has done both. Provided capacity to other councils and used their capacity. I think that’s a good thing in the sense of cooperation, resources and market fluctuation.

        • Elizabeth

          ### newshub.co.nz Sunday 24 Apr 2016 6:00 p.m.
          Housing pressure drives shoddy building practices
          By Tom McRae
          The Homeowners and Buyers Association says Auckland is heading for a shoddy building crisis as bad as the leaky homes fiasco of the 1990s. As pressure mounts on the industry to build more homes in Auckland, faster, the quality of work is dropping. Thirty percent of all building inspections are being failed; in fact, some months Auckland Council fails close to 40 percent. […] Jeff Fahrenshon has been an inspector for 20 years. He’s currently the boss of all Auckland Council inspectors. He says he’s never seen the building standard in the super city as low as it is now. […] Almost a third of all inspections fail. Auckland Council has been documenting some of the worst examples. Mr Fahrensohn says it’s a mix of inexperienced builders getting it wrong and cowboys trying to cut corners.
          Read more

          Auckland Council consents - d_consents_tmc_akl_24_04 [newshub.co.nz]

          MEANWHILE at Dunedin and elsewhere….

          Sat, 23 Apr 2016 at 1:45 p.m.

          Cavan Forde by Stacy Squires Fairfax NZ [Stuff.co.nz]Cavan Forde, who is behind Dunedin’s CFG Group, has worked in the coatings and building products industry for many years. [Stacy Squires/Fairfax NZ via Stuff.co.nz]

          ### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 18:45, April 22 2016
          Special investigation: Importation and sale of Chinese building products under scrutiny
          By Blair Ensor and Martin Van Beynen
          A Chinese-made concrete product allegedly represented as though it was a high quality German brand [Hebel] has failed in some important buildings and may have been used widely in New Zealand. The lightweight concrete product was one of a range of autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) panels imported and distributed by the Dunedin CFG Group between 2007 and 2013.
          A Stuff investigation has found electricity substations in Auckland and Lower Hutt have experienced problems with the concrete panels and a house in Dunedin had to be re-clad after the Dunedin City Council refused to sign off the building.
          AAC panels imported from China and supplied to Sparrow Construction Ltd by CFG have to be replaced at a cost of $140,000.
          Scores of other buildings in NZ are thought to have also used the product.
          CFG Group issued a statement through its lawyers to Stuff this week saying it could not answer questions while it was co-operating with a Commerce Commission probe into the issue.
          […] The Stuff investigation shows Dunedin businessman Cavan Forde is the main figure behind the CFG Group although the names of his various entities change frequently. For instance his company Cavan Forde Group (NZ) Ltd changed its name to C.F.G NZ Ltd in 2002, then to CFGNZ Ltd in 2005, CFG Ltd in 2010 and Shelf 25 Ltd in 2014.
          The Companies Office has started the process to remove the company. Its registered office appears to be a rural block in Southbridge near Leeston which houses a shed and a relocatable building.
          Read more

          █ NZ Companies Office search: *FORDE Cavan John James*

          █ SHELF 25 LIMITED (876883) Registered
          Registered office address and address for service:
          301 Southbridge Leeston Road, Rd 3, Leeston 7683

          █ Cavan John James FORDE – 67 Reid Road, Dunedin 9012

    • Diane Yeldon

      Hmmm, ODT’s use of those statistics is making the story. Or at least beefing it up. 4 days as a fraction of the 20 day expectation is indeed a quarter over. But is still only 4 days. I wonder what the complete data set looks like. Wonder how the builders would do with a 38.8% increase in workload from one month to the next.

      • Diane Yeldon

        Misread that. But the point is still valid. From the info given in this ODT report, it’s just as true to say that the vast majority (3/4) of building consents were processed within the 20 working day limit and the average over-run was only 4.5 days. Despite a huge increase in applications – up by more than a third. Well done, DCC! A completely different emphasis. Or slant? And today’s ODT editorial on the same topic (does it really warrant an editorial?) selects still slightly different data. Build up to the election so we can have some shiny new candidate protegee sort out the supposed rot at the DCC? Always a possibilty, not necessarily that this reporting is intended that way but that it might be misinterpreted this way. Voters beware!

  3. Calvin Oaten

    Easy fixed! A couple of Building Services managers to assist the ‘Head Honcho’ Neil McLeod, two or three ‘team leaders’ and a couple of pencil sharpeners. That’ll about do it I would think. They could of course, butt out and let the Master Builders have a go.

  4. Gurglars

    Just cutting off access to Trade Me and getting rid of the cars to steal would solve all the time constraints relating to building consents.

    Surely with 750 staff (plus Delta housing development geniuses) they have enough building inspectors and application readers to solve these problems, there are 20 working days by 8 work hours, 160 hours per consent worker, sufficient to process 42 applications in twenty days! Half a day per consent even if there is only one person doing the whole consent process.

    With a few less coffee breaks in lower Stuart St, and a bit of application from team leaders and even top management staff would fix this shortfall in no time. That’s how a private company would solve this problem.

    More staff would require more non-working team leaders.

    Gurglars Law of the consent process!

    A shortfall of responding to consent applications leads to more staff and a higher income for the team leader who creates the shortfall!

  5. Calvin Oaten

    Sue Bidrose could even talk to one or two of the more prominent builders in this town and ask them off the record what they think of the department and its management. Might solve her problem with just a couple of dismissals. Worth a try? Isn’t that what is meant by “the buck stops here”?

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Calvin, – Isn’t that what is meant by “the buck stops here”? – no. The buck stops when there’s a dead man across the path of the runaway buck.
      It takes no time flat for the buck to find detours.

  6. Calvin Oaten

    It could be dead from the neck up.

  7. Elizabeth

    A useful overview including from the time of Paul Orders as DCC chief executive.

    Tue, 5 Apr 2016
    ODT Editorial: Recurring building consent delays
    OPINION Holdups in the Dunedin City Council’s building consent process are most disappointing – not only for builders and clients but also for Dunedin’s reputation. […] Dunedin builders, both large and small, have reported being frustrated by the delays, with some consents blowing out to more than twice the legal expectation of 20 days. […] As well, there are claims other councils operate more effectively.

  8. Elizabeth

    Hyperbole ?

    “Some people are waiting up to 60 days. What the hell is going on?”

    Mon, 18 Apr 2016
    ODT: ‘We expected to be in a nice, warm home’
    A Dunedin couple will spend winter in a “cold one-bedroom unit” after consents delays hindered the building of their new home. Jude and Roy Sleeman applied for a building consent for their St Leonards home on February 5 in the hopes of completing the build by May. However, the Sleemans will have to rent through the winter now as their consent was not issued until April 5.


    Mon, 18 Apr 2016
    ODT: Time to get consent doubles
    The time to process a building consent has more than doubled in the past year, according to statistics from the Dunedin City Council.
    The figures show the average consent is now taking 20 working days to process, and one consent blew out to 57 days. At the same time last year, consents were taking eight days to process and the longest took 21 working days.

    ● In February, the council issued 193 building consents, a 38.8% increase on the 139 issued in February 2015 and 2014.

  9. Elizabeth

    ODT 25.4.16 (page 10)

    ODT 25.4.16  Letter to editor Oaten p10

    • Gurglars

      Calvin, there was no internet, no Trade Me, not so many cars to steal that the carpool manager could not cast an eye over daily, no spin doctors, precious few departmental managers, a town clerk instead of a $350,000 annual edifice, and a culture far more directed towards the city rather than inwardly towards the welfare of the ivory tower dwellers. Oh, it of course would have had its share of pen pinchers, but just not so many pens !

  10. Elizabeth

    DCC takes steps to address consents delay — hiring two staff, sending applications outside city,working overtime.

    Wed, 4 May 2016
    ODT: Move to solve consent issue
    The Dunedin City Council has hired two new processors to help alleviate the workload facing its delay-plagued building department. […] Consents are meant to be processed within 20 working days of acceptance. Council building services manager Neil McLeod confirmed yesterday about one-third of consents were past the statutory limit at present and the most overdue was double that time.

  11. Calvin Oaten

    Another piece of sticking plaster accompanied by increased costs in staff overall. Net result waits to be seen but My guess is it’ll be no better.

    • Elizabeth

      Additional staff / other measures to meet the bump will be cheaper than defending court challenges from the building industry !!!

  12. Elizabeth

    Tue, 7 Jun 2016
    ODT: More staff for building services
    The Dunedin City Council’s beleaguered building services department plans to hire further staff to cope with ongoing delays to consent processing and site inspections. […] Council quality assurance officer Gillian Budd, in an emailed update on building consents, said staff were ‘‘continuing to work hard to reduce the backlog of building consents” but the number of consents was up by about 17% on the same time last year.

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