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Service Desks – All the Go

Ric Carlyon - Sunday, October 11, 2015

Popularity of Service Desks as a means of dispensing Justice of the Peace services is rapidly becoming apparent, and not just in Auckland. 

Other Associations who have trialed them as an experiment have also met with success, with usually higher than expected uptake.

Te Aroha, in Waikato Association’s territory is the latest.

Ten Justices of the Peace are now rostered for a session each Wednesday, 11am - 1pm, at the local CAB.

“Some Justices prefer to make their service available at a public desk rather than in their own homes”, says Te Aroha- Morrinsville Branch President, Eric Russell, echoing one of the reasons Auckland Association attributes to the success of its 52 Service Desks situated across Super City. 

One, Sylvia Park, which also operates in a CAB, recently extended its services to Saturday mornings. Jenny Hunt expects it to be just as busy as weekdays, if not more so, once the Saturday opening becomes known.

And Northland Association's Registrar, Sue Farrant, is quoted in the Northern Advocate saying Justices of the Peace signed more than 1,200 documents last month at the Service Desk in Whangarei Courthouse, in addition to services provided at Whangarei Central Library on Saturday mornings.   

Justices of the Peace to Settle Harbour Board Disputes

Ric Carlyon - Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Council has legislated that Justices of the Peace will settle any disputes against Harbour Board charges. Payers who have any concern about the amount they’ve been levied, or disagree with any other dues or charges imposed under the Harbour by-laws, should make application to a Justice of the Peace for a hearing. The Justice will then consider the matter, determine amounts to be paid and appropriately award costs to either of the parties, taking into account any distress suffered. The Justice’s  decision is to be issued by means of warrant.  
- Section 43 Auckland Harbour Board Act 1854, Auckland Provincial Council - the same Act that, unbelievably, appointed 100 men as the Board of Commissioners to govern Waitemata Harbour and waterfront. 

Robert Wynyard, Superintendent, who gave Justices of the Peace the task of hearing rates disputes.  

Seeking a new Registrar - and Treasurer

Ric Carlyon - Monday, October 05, 2015

The Association’s looking to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of our Registrar, Roger Brookes. 

It’s been decided by Council to take the opportunity to separate the Registrar’s duties from Treasurer’s functions, so expressions of interest are sought for two part-time positions… that of Registrar and of Treasurer.  

Both will be remunerated positions, independent contractors, the Registrar working out of the Association’s office in the Auckland District Court building while it’s envisaged the Treasurer would work mostly from home. 

The membership has already been canvassed looking for anyone interested: the positions are also to be publicly advertised. 

Those wishing to register interest should email before 13th October.  

Association’s Data-Base Being Overhauled

Ric Carlyon - Thursday, October 01, 2015

The data-base of the Association’s members, and their details, is being overhauled and it’s proving quite a project. 

Over the years information recorded in the data-base became out-of-date and inaccurate. This affected members’ current home and email addresses which meant it was difficult to communicate with them.
“It’s been a bigger task than we thought” says Association President, Selwyn Haworth, “and it’s not quite complete, despite a small army of 50 willing volunteers working through the records to produce an up to date master data-base of the 1,500 or so Justices of the Peace on the lists. The helpers have done a remarkable job correcting and purging the data-base and in some cases they have been contacting members by phone to confirm details”.
During inquiries it’s been found some members have died, others have relinquished membership because they’re no longer providing services, while some have moved permanently overseas or have stepped down as ‘JP Retired’.
In a week or two, once the make-over is complete, there will be a clearer picture of the membership and it’ll be much easier to communicate with members via email. A periodic emailed newsletter is planned to keep them in touch with Association’s activities. Another aspect - it will be easier to identify and advise those who overlooked paying last year’s subscription… not entirely their fault, because the out-of-date database meant they may not have received an invoice or reminder notices.  And, quite soon, invoices for the current year’s subscription will be emailed to all members.    

Support Group Coordinators Thanked

Ric Carlyon - Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Justices of the Peace who are also coordinators of Support Groups were thanked for their ongoing services on Sunday, following the Auckland Justice of the Peace association’s Regional Conference.

Dawn Jones, convenor of Support Groups, told the conference that the coordinators’ efforts, as leaders of the 27 Support Groups, are greatly appreciated.  Ric Carlyon, in his remarks to Conference, also thanked the coordinators, saying they are part of the vital “backroom team” which contributes to the Association’s most successful undertaking - provision of Justice of the Peace services at 52 Desks across Greater Auckland.

In appreciation, Support Group Coordinators joined Association Council members for lunch. 

Some of the Support Group Coordinators who attended the luncheon

The Missing 300

Ric Carlyon - Monday, September 14, 2015

Work begins in earnest today to try to reconcile the Association’s database of members. 

It’s thought some 300 Justices of the Peace, members or former members, can't be accurately accounted for. A small group of volunteers has this morning begun the task, comparing details in several databases to come up with a new master list. Once this is complete it’s planned to stage Part 2 of the exercise - to telephone those members whose details appear out of date or incorrect in the continuing effort to clean up the files. 

So where are the 300? Council members were told at their meeting last week, and again at yesterday’s Regional Conference, that over the years the database has had its faults, corrupted and out of date. In addition, it was advised, some Justices have died without the office being notified while others have moved house, changed email addresses, remarried with changed names, or have inadvertently (or deliberately) let their membership lapse and are now out of contact.

Auckland Justices of the Peace who have noticed they have not been getting membership information by email can check their details on-line, or should advise the Registrar, Roger Brookes. He has joined the hunt for the missing 300! 

Communications Survey: “extraordinary response”

Ric Carlyon - Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Auckland Conference of Justices of the Peace was told today that the response to the recent nation-wide survey on communications has been extraordinary.  
The Royal Federation of Justices’ Associations surveyed Justices of the Peace on how they receive information from the Federation with the view to improve communications now, and to help plan for the future. 
Kath Blair, survey organiser, thanked all those who had taken part and told the conference today that there had been a 40 per cent return which would be the envy of marketing companies conducting similar surveys. 
“This gives us a broad sample base," Kath Blair says, "on which the Communications Committee can work-up a blue-print for the way forward”. 

Kath Blair attended today's conference of Auckland Justices of the Peace

“First results will be announced in "Justices Quarterly" magazine and then recommendations will be made at the Conference in Dunedin in the new year”.  
The survey comprised a questionnaire sent to Justices of the Peace by both email and mail: 2,235 individuals responded while 24 out of 29 Associations answered a separate set of questions targeted specifically at them. 

Conference Welcomed… and Surprised

Ric Carlyon - Sunday, September 13, 2015

Today’s Regional Conference of Auckland Justices of the Peace was welcomed, then surprised, during introductory remarks by recently-installed President, Selwyn Haworth. He greeted about 320 Justices who attended, he outlined immediate projects being pursued by the Association’s Council… and then dropped a bombshell.

He announced the resignation of Auckland’s Registrar, Roger Brookes. 

Registrar Roger Brookes at today's Annual Conference for Justices of the Peace

“Roger has decided to stand down after 11 years." Selwyn advised, "and in due course there’ll be an appropriate farewell for him. Meantime, Roger has agreed to assist his successor, expressions of interest for which will be called soon".

Regional Conference This Sunday

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Auckland Regional Conference for Justices of the Peace will be held at Alexandra Park on Sunday (13th September). 
Those attending are in for a range of addresses and training topics… and they’ll each receive their copy of the revised Manual of Ministerial Duties. Opportunity will be taken to present Long Service Certificates. Judge Charles Blackie will be the key speaker with an address titled “The Lighter Side of Justice”.  
It’s a morning-only Conference this year with registration from 8.30am ready for a start at 9.15am.

New Services at Howick

Ric Carlyon - Friday, September 04, 2015

Eastern Districts Support Group is matching increasing demand for Justice of the Peace services with additional attendances at local Service Desks.

A Saturday morning session is added from tomorrow at Highland Park Shopping Centre and the Service Desk listed at Howick Information Centre has 3 sessions each week.

This means the Support Group now rosters 14 sessions a week across six different Service Desks, with Justices of the Peace putting in a total of 156 hours monthly. Clive Beeching, who oversees statistics for the combined Desks, says almost 1, 300 clients were seen in August with Justices of the Peace certifying 4,000 copies and witnessing 250 documents, as well as sundry other transactions.  

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