After You Notify

  • The notification process is one way of letting people know about the existence and potential impact of a proposed plan. Notification should be supported by the use of non-statutory methods to promote knowledge and understanding about a proposed plan, its provisions and its likely impact on the community. At the very least, all stakeholders should be informed and given the opportunity to be involved.

    Possible techniques include:
     
    • Brochures/pamphlets summarising key parts, sometimes several according to topic areas
       
    • Meetings with sector groups (with proposed plan authors there to explain)
       
    • Media releases/articles/spreads, with succinct summaries of hot topics and the proposed plan's policies
       
    • Meetings with media to discuss aspects of proposed plan to promote a good understanding of the policies and their effect
       
    • Workshops with stakeholders (surveyors, land agents, real estate agents and other consultants etc)
       
    • Copies of proposed plans at appropriate locations, for example, libraries and service centres (multiple copies at each, rather than one only)
       
    • Online versions of the proposed plan and how to make a submission for example
       
    • How to make a submission information, particularly emphasising the decision requested
       
    • Training of staff on the new proposed plan prior to notification not just front counter staff, but all staff that need to know, such as those in call-centres and staff in operational services.
       
  • In particular, the regulatory aspects of a proposed plan need good communication. Understanding the need for, and purpose of, proposed rules should be one of the key elements of marketing a notified proposed plan. One of the problems, however, is how to inform people how rules affect them individually. While there is no statutory requirement to notify specific properties about changes in zoning or rules that impact on them, it is important a council consciously consider this matter as part of its communications strategy for a proposed plan. The difficulty is how wide a net to cast. There is no hard criteria or guidance on this matter as it depends on a host of circumstances (this issue also arises under ‘notifying for further submissions’, below)
     
  • Inform people about the process itself, to lessen confusion and potential problems. For example, people sometimes have unrealistic expectations about what can come out of their submissions - new traffic lights, lower rates, etc. Potential submitters need to understand what councils can and cannot deliver under its district plan, and how to have input into other areas of the council's functions. This includes the limitations on making submissions on matters relating to trade competition under clause 6 of Schedule 1.