Marlborough Smart and Connected is a breakthrough program that’s facilitated by the Marlborough District Council to empower our communities to find their own destinies and this makes Marlborough a better place for people to live, work and visit. The community engagement approach is sitting at the heart of Smart & Connected as a key reason for the programs significant successes to date. There are three Smart and Connected community groups, Renwick, Havelock and Picton.
The Smart & Connected program also supports industry and sector groups including Aquaculture, Viticulture, a Marlborough S&C Leadership Group, and a Marlborough Visitor Economy. For a full breakdown of the MDC spending on S&C, see below.
Picton Smart and Connected is designed to lead a cohesive way of thinking and advocating in a community that has felt for some time that its voice is not being heard by decision makers. Smart and Connected provided a framework for a steering group to be established, leading to the creation of several working groups on key short and long term issues. These working groups have actively engaged the community and involve some seventy people, with varying views and opinions. We aim to bring them towards a majority viewpoint and exert more influence on decisions over its future, while recognising that there will always be some differing views.
2. How is Picton Smart + Connected funded?
The short answer is that it does not directly receive funds. The Steering Group and Working Group members are all volunteers who give their time outside of their normal work practices. Members are individuals who are passionate about Picton and its future and so give their time free of charge. The MDC offers support to the programme in several ways:
the venue for Steering Group meeting for two hours each month (working groups handle their own meeting arrangements)
attendance of a council liaison person as required and minute taking on request
providing information/advice in response to requests or for projects
occasionally a facilitator for review meetings to encourage its S&C program to work as best possible.
supporting PS&C public meetings.
The MDC has undertaken to assist with project administration and agenda preparation, and printing of working documentation.
3. How were the Steering Group members selected?
In late 2014 the Marlborough District Council held two initial meetings with the Picton community to discuss setting up a Smart and Connected group for Picton. Both meetings were well-attended (110-120 people) and the Picton Smart and Connected Steering Group was formally established on 16 December 2014 at a very positive inaugural meeting. Through these initial meetings a group of volunteers agreed to facilitate the steering group. The group agreed that there is to be a maximum number of 14. Councillors Hook and Oddie share one position. The original quorum accounted for all members including councillors and the council staff representative, but subsequently was realised it should apply only to the independent Picton Steering Group voting on issues.
Picton Smart & Connected embraces a contemporary model of discussion and decision making, via an online meeting platform called Loomio. This is used in conjunction with traditional face to face meeting formats; some decisions are made at meetings, and others are confirmed via a voting mechanism on Loomio, which is equally binding and requires a majority decision.
4. How do I join the Steering Group?
The Picton Smart and Connected Steering Group aims to maintain a broad cross section of skills, experience, demography and linkages to the community, this guides the makeup of the steering group. The initial Steering Group determined to keep a steady course with the same group into its second year, until its annual public meeting in October 2016 when it invited expressions of interest from potential new members who have a positive, active and engaging vision for the future of Picton and crucially who work well in a team. The guiding principle is to fill any gaps in skills, demographic representation, and experience.
5. How are the Working Group members selected?
Anyone with a passion for Picton, a team approach and a positive attitude is welcome to volunteer for a working group, unless the numbers are becoming unwieldy! In that case, there will be opportunities to join project teams to work on specific goals of the WG. Email the leader of the working group you wish to be part of and we will take it from there.
6. How do I give feedback on the Picton Smart + Connected iniatives?
We welcome feedback and ideas from all members of the Picton Community. We are here to bring the community together and speak with a united voice to council so please let us know what you think by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can join a discussion on our Facebook page.
Please note that we welcome a healthy debate but we do not tolerate intimidating and threatening behaviour and so please keep your comments respectful. Remember, we are volunteers.
7. Is Picton Smart + Connected working for Marlborough District Council?
No. We are facilitated by the Marlborough District Council but we do not work for them. We have a strong relationship with Marlborough District Council and thus can access information and identify community support that Picton might otherwise be unaware of. We would be unable to move forward with our initiatives if we did not build a positive working relationship with council. This does not mean that we work for them, or always agree with them.
8. I heard there was a Picton Smart + Connected member paid by Council, is this true?
Adi James was appointed to the post of Community Adviser – Marlborough Townships in early 2016. The role is project focused and supports the current Smart and Connected groups at Picton, Havelock and Renwick as well as administering the Small Townships Fund. (However, Picton is too large to qualify for Small Townships Funding). Adi is responsible for advising the Smart and Connected groups on behalf of the council. It is not her role to do administration work for the Smart and Connected groups and she is not a member of the PS&C Steering Group.
As of November 2016 Picton Smart and Connected has five hours per week administration resource funded by Marlborough District Council.
9. How much has the MDC budgeted toward the regional Smart + Connected strategy; and how is that money being spent?
The Smart and Connected programme started work in 2013 and there are currently seven Smart and Connected groups that the council supports. These are: • Wood Sector • Visitor Economy • Blenheim Business Association (CBD group) • Aquaculture • Havelock Community Association • Picton community group • Renwick community group The budget for delivering all Smart + Connected initiatives across Marlborough in 2016/17 is $160,000. This includes supporting existing groups, developing new groups, integrating Smart and Connected in to council strategies and processes and communication. The budget covers internal staff time and the facilitation of strategic planning and public meetings. The Smart and Connected groups’ members participate on a voluntary basis. The council might choose to partner with any of the groups to deliver a project or choose to deliver a project that has been suggested by a group, but this would be prioritised through regular council processes.