Last week I edited a submission for a client (Ian McComb, of Small Time Developments Ltd) which includes some really good practices. That experience inspired the following checklist which you may find helpful if you are writing a submission on a council plan. (This information is shared with permission from Ian McComb.)
- Introduce yourself – give the reader good reasons to value your opinion, such as your professional expertise and experience.
- Say what you like about what the council is doing and why, before launching into what you want to change.
- Provide a bullet point summary of what you’ll cover, in the order it is covered.
- Briefly explain how your requested changes are relevant to the council’s priorities.
- Include different heading levels to make it easy for readers to navigate their way through your submission. This means using a larger heading size for each new topic (which matches the bullet point summary in the introduction) with smaller heading size for sections within that topic (such as ‘issue’ and ‘recommended changes’).
- Be as clear and concise as possible about the issue and the solution.
- Include images/photos where they help to explain your points.
- Explain how and why the requested change will improve the situation not just for you, but also for the Council and/or the community.
- Make it as easy as possible for people to say yes to the request by providing wording for the suggested changes (e.g. plan conditions).
- Mention where this issue has been addressed elsewhere in New Zealand or the world, and provide supporting website links to articles or Youtube related to those examples.
Please pass this on to anyone you know who is writing a submission on a council plan.