A Formal Charging policy

There are many options open to a council in terms of its approach to setting consent and compliance monitoring charges. There is a need to record the approach taken by a council to these matters, for the purposes of transparency, internal continuity and for informing the public. Having a formal consent charges policy will also assist in meeting the LGA requirement for a revenue and financing policy for the LTP. 

Councils should prepare and adopt formal consent charging policies that as a minimum record: 

  • funding policy decisions on overall consent holder recovery levels for relevant components of the consents activity 

  • whether the council will use a system of fixed consent application fees payable in advance, or fixed initial deposit charges with full actual cost recovery in arrears 

  • the details of how consent charges will be made up, including a list of activities that will be charged for, how staff charge-out rates are set, and what overheads are included in staff charge-out rates 

  • a list of consent related activities that will not be charged for as they do not meet the s36AAA(3) criteria 

  • disbursement rates 

  • criteria upon which remissions will be granted under s36AAB(1) 

  • whether independent commissioners will be used to hear and decide s357B objections on additional charges  

  • whether annual administration charges will be levied and what such charges comprise 

  • how compliance monitoring charges will be determined 

  • categories of consents for which monitoring charges will be fixed and payable in advance 

  • categories of consents for which monitoring charges will be based on fixed initial deposit charges payable in advance with additional actual and reasonable costs charged in arrears 

  • whether refunds will be given where actual costs incurred are less than fixed initial deposit charges payable in advance 

  • any difference in fixed deposit costs between hearings that are heard and decided by councillors versus hearings heard and decided by independent commissioner(s). 

This charging policy should be formally considered and adopted by the council and reviewed no less than every three years. It may be appropriate to include these policy matters in the revenue and financing policy required for the LTP.