Auckland mayoral staff score poorly in terms of engagement

7:52 am on 14 May 2018

Staff in the office of Auckland's mayor Phil Goff have come a distant last in a council-wide survey of how committed to the job they are.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.

In other areas, Mayor Phil Goff has held his office up as a model for the rest of the council. Photo: Auckland Council

The mayoral office scored 22 percent which is less than half of the average across Auckland Council.

The mayor's office trailed other departments for staff "engagement".

The mayor's office trailed other departments for staff "engagement". Photo: Supplied/Auckland Council

A spokesperson for Mr Goff partly attributed the low score to so few of the office's 14 staff having filled-in the questionnaire.

"It's a small office so it doesn't take much to push the result in either direction," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"It showed us what's working well, and where we can be more effective."

Mr Goff and councillors set the staff performance measure as one of the key goals for the chief executive, Stephen Town.

Mr Town was tasked with lifting so-called staff engagement, from 47 percent in the previous survey 18 months ago, to 50 percent in the survey just-completed. The council averaged 51 percent.

The poor mayoral staff score is a minor embarrassment for Mr Goff, who in other areas has held his office up as a model for the rest of the council.

Mr Goff campaigned pledging to cut council-wide spending by 3 to 6 percent, and upon election made a point of announcing his office would underspend his predecessor Len Brown's by 3 percent.

The office pledge is an easy one to keep, because the mayoral office budget of around $4 million which is set in legislation, is for a layer of policy staff which didn't exist prior to the 2010 amalgamation.

The engagement score is based on staff responses to questions about whether they speak positively about the council, their desire to remain there, and whether they feel they go the extra mile.

The score is the first of 11 categories, the AON-Hewitt survey, to be shared with council staff, department-by-department.

Council management are proud of the lift in the staff engagement measure, and are aiming for another 3 percent next year - still short of the 68 percent needed to enter the top 25 percent in the trans-Tasman survey database.

They say the participation rate at 86 percent was high, with 5253 staff completing survey questionnaires.

The survey results were finalised last month, and RNZ requested the findings a fortnight ago.

Part of the delay was so the last of the individual department briefings could be completed, which was the mayor's office.