Transforming Animal Services

Tauranga City is New Zealand’s 5th largest city, and is undergoing unprecedented growth. The local economy is healthy, beating the national average in GDP and employment growth. The population is growing fast - building consents were 86% higher than the 10-year average in 2017. This puts the spotlight on service availability and delivery.

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Service delivery for cities is a primary focus for Councils. These services range from rubbish collection through to land use consents. 

For this engagement, Tauranga City Council wanted to ensure their delivery of animal services was up to scratch. The Council didn’t want this to be an internally focused process optimisation project. A key driver was to improve the community experience of the Council’s animal services. The Council had lots of data on internal processes but only anecdotal data on community experience. 

The Council engaged Cucumber to develop a set of evidence-based recommendations to improve their delivery of animal services. 



Cucumber used a service design approach for this engagement. We started by working with members of the internal team to map out the service scenarios. In this case, barking dogs, roaming dogs, and dog attacks. From these (internal) journey maps, we identified the people involved at each step. We used this information to identify the characteristics of people we needed to talk with.

Cucumber ran a series of structured one-one discussions with the community. Soft skills were critical here as this was an emotive topic for most participants. From these discussions, Cucumber and the Council team grouped the feedback into themes. These themes added the community element to the internal journey maps.

Cucumber then worked with the Council to distil the key insights and create a set of service recommendations that aligned with the Councils strategic priorities (e.g., digital transformation). Cucumber then delivered a presentation to the wider Council team. This covered off the process, science, results, and recommendations.


  • A greater focus on the community. That is, delivering a faster and more responsive service, more focus on education and better service options
  • Mobile technology is the key to future service delivery improvement, current methods were too reliant on paper
  • The ability to better manage risks and opportunities. That is, with Animal Service officers more visible in the field on a day to day basis

Cucumber exceeded our expectations with the thoroughness of the work they did looking at the customer’s journey across all possible angles.

Margaret Batchelar
Tauranga City Council, Customer Services Manager

Margaret Batchelar

Tauranga City Council, Customer Services Manager

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