Editing quiz
Writing For Councils Blog
by Debra
1M ago
This quiz covers some of the less obvious ways we can improve our writing at the editing stage, as outlined in ‘Editing Made Easy’. The sentences are all grammatically correct, so please pick the ones you think are simpler or clearer. The clues are in the subheadings, and the answers are available here. Quiz Use verbs instead of nouns, where possible. 1A      Using verbs instead of nouns is an important part of editing. 1B      The substitution of verbs for nouns is an important part of editing. 2A      Approval of the ..read more
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Editing quiz – answers
Writing For Councils Blog
by Debra
1M ago
Check your answers to the editing quiz. (The correct answers are shown in bold.) Use verbs instead of nouns, where possible. 1A      Using verbs instead of nouns is an important part of editing. 1B      The substitution of verbs for nouns is an important part of editing. 2A      Approval of the plans took place on Wednesday. 2B      The plans were approved on Wednesday. 3A      Council officers are talking to both parties. 3B      Council officers are ..read more
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Stumbling blocks for report writers
Writing For Councils Blog
by Debra
2M ago
Your particular pathway to working in local government may present some specific challenges when you start writing council reports. Here are some examples and potential solutions. 1.    Passionate people working in the community development space may struggle with the need for objectivity in reports, since they joined their council to make a difference, and they have a strong sense of what needs to happen. Antidotes: Understand that your role is to consider the objectives of the elected members, and channel your experience and activism into advising on the best ways to achieve ..read more
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How to develop a corporate policy
Writing For Councils Blog
by Debra
2M ago
I hope you find this step-by-step process useful if you need to develop a corporate policy. Note: We often talk about writing a policy, but when you look at the steps in this process, it becomes clear that thinking and talking are also essential ingredients for creating a successful policy. Step 1 – Scoping and project planning a) Review the source documents. b) Identify the scope of the content to be included in the policy. c) Prepare a timeline for completion of the work, including the formal approval process. Check in: Sign off by the manager before progressing to Step 2. Step 2 – Analysi ..read more
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Workshop notes
Writing For Councils Blog
by Debra
3M ago
In this article I share a trick to help you with presentations, list some resources to help staff write quality reports, reflect on the value of getting the first draft done, and mention an excellent book for people developing workplace training These notes are all inspired by working with Auckland Council to develop and deliver a Political Report Writing workshop. (As New Zealand’s largest council, Auckland Council generously shares its approach with other councils.) How to share your written content as a presentation Have you ever developed written content to present, then wor ..read more
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How to add the strategy into strategic planning
Writing For Councils Blog
by Debra
3M ago
While everyone is capable of both strategic thinking and planning, it’s natural to have a preference for one over the other. The whole brain thinking framework is one way to understand whether strategic thinking or planning comes more naturally to you. Here’s a description of strategic thinking and planning from ‘The Whole Brain Business Book’, by Ned Herrmann and Ann Herrmann-Nehdi: Strategic thinking: Anticipate, invent, and understand potential future events and issues. Imagine and create alternative scenarios. Destroy your presumptions to free up new perspectives. Planning: A ..read more
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Thinking like a councillor
Writing For Councils Blog
by Debra
3M ago
We all speak, write and make decisions based on our own experience – and we tend to walk around assuming everyone sees the world pretty much as we do. It can be kind of shocking to realise how different other people’s perspectives and values can be. That’s why we need input from people with different viewpoints to deliver good outcomes for the community. And one of the key ways to do this is through the elected members’ decision-making process. This puts extra responsibility on us when we write reports about issues we have been thinking about for months or years. We need to write what our read ..read more
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Editing notes
Writing For Councils Blog
by Debra
3M ago
This podcast discusses what to do once you have a first draft in place – and emphasises focusing on the big questions before improving the wording. Some of my takeaways from this discussion with Daphne Gray-Grant are: It’s important to leave time between writing the first draft and doing developmental editing – so you can step into the shoes of your reader and read the document as if you didn’t write it. Have a checklist of specific questions to ask yourself when doing the first read of the draft – so you don’t slip into just re-reading it and hoping to see how to make it better. (See page ..read more
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Coping with uncertainty
Writing For Councils Blog
by Debra
3M ago
Changes in direction related to the RMA, three water management, and spending priorities for transport all impact on the local government sector. Changes in Government policy could see your work programme completely altered, resulting in wasted work – or even job insecurity if your work relies on Government funding. The stories we tell ourselves during stressful times can affect how difficult they are to navigate. Here is a method you can try if you need clarity on what you can do to respond to these challenges – rather than ruminating on things that are outside of your control ..read more
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Resources to help you complete your Long Term Plan
Writing For Councils Blog
by Debra
9M ago
What a year for local government! Cyclones and floods have created havoc for infrastructure budgets, U-turns have been signalled for the Affordable Water and RMA reforms, and rates rises are unacceptable for many in the community. Now we need to reflect these issues in the Long Term Plan for 2024–2034, and time is ticking. We can’t afford to lose momentum if we are to meet our June 2024 deadlines, and yet there’s so much going on. Here are some resources to help you make progress over the next few months, as you consider and communicate the strategic issues for your council. Completing Asset M ..read more
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