Policy and Plan Effectiveness Monitoring

Policy and plan effectiveness monitoring

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 Act. 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 Resource Management Act (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.


Start plan monitoring early

  • Think about monitoring at the start of the policy and plan development process. Do not wait until the plan is fully operative or useful information may be missed.
  • Develop a monitoring/evaluation programme at the same time as plan provisions are developed but recognise things may change.
  • Monitor the implementation of policy and plans. It is essential to know that plan methods are being implemented before checking that anticipated outcomes are being achieved.
  • Remember monitoring is a systematic and ongoing process rather than a one-off task. This means there will be a continuous review process for policies and plans.
  • Be focused; monitor priority matters first. Many councils have started by monitoring and reviewing the environmental results expected (EREs) in policy and plans. This helps to determine if EREs are being achieved and whether or not they need to be more focused (and rewritten) to be measurable. This is all part of the monitoring process.
  • Consider the plan's context and external factors, eg, population growth or decline.
  • Establish the links with monitoring the state of the environment and the monitoring of resource consents, compliance and complaints.