Policy and Plan Effectiveness Monitoring

This note has been updated for 2017 and 2020 amendments but not updated for best practice.

Monitoring the efficiency and effectiveness of policies, rules or other methods in policy statements or plans (policy and plan monitoring) is an important part of the resource management planning process. It has a direct relationship to sections 32 and 35 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). It is an ongoing activity throughout the planning cycle to assess how well the plan is working. Policy and plan effectiveness monitoring helps determine the need for further action, and possible changes and improvements in policy statements and plans, or in actions taken to implement them. 

The RMA requires local authorities to monitor the efficiency and effectiveness of policies, rules, or other methods in its policy statements or plans; to take appropriate action when monitoring indicates that this is necessary and to prepare a report at least every five years on the results of section 35(2)(b) monitoring. 

Monitoring closes the loop in the 'plan - do - monitor - review' cycle and informs decision-makers of the consequences of actions and changes in the environment. Policy and plan effectiveness monitoring provides a means for determining how well plans are working in practice. It both builds on and provides information for state of the environment monitoring and can be assisted by monitoring resource consents, compliance and complaints. It is important to have an integrated approach. 

Monitoring of efficiency and effectiveness of related territorial authority functions under section 35(2)(ca) and 35(5)(ga) is not the subject of this guidance.