Asset Management

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Asset Management Policy

  • 1.  Asset Management Policy

    Posted 24-09-2012 14:09
    Hi all,

    I am in the process of reviewing our Asset Management Policy.  The existing policy is a pretty reasonable document, and probably doesn't need a lot of work, but I have been thinking about what it is that we are really trying to accomplish with it.

    One thing I'm pretty sure of, is that there isn't much point in putting a lot of effort into updating it, if it ends up sitting on a shelf somewhere and no-one ever refers to it.

    Very interested to hear from anyone who has REALLY benefited from updating their policy and how?

    How often do you refer to it?  How it does it help you better manage your assets?

    Regards,

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    Wayne Eddy
    Strategic Asset Planning Coordinator
    City of Whittlesea
    BUNDOORA MDC VIC

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  • 2.  RE:Asset Management Policy

    Posted 25-09-2012 12:23
    Wayne, a good question again.

    The Asset Management Policy is a short, suscinct document that gets everyone in council on the same page re AM. It also provides high level guidance (on a very complicated topic) for the community.
    But the prime purpose is that council consistently needs to apply (Good) Asset Management (Practices) across all decisions made in council.
    This processs needs to start at the top and run right to the bottom of the organisation.
    At one level (of the chain) are the Councillors (just to keep equality out of the discussion) who need to understand their roles in achieving GAMP (Good Asset Management Practices).

    With new councils just installed (certainly across NSW), there is no time like to present to get either;
    1 a new meaningful AM Policy or
    2 a new revised AM Policy
    in place and up front with key decision makers in the organisation.

    The AM Policy should be reviewed and revisited at least every 4 years to cater for the changed environment.

    Regards

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    Darron Passlow
    Asset Management
    Pittwater Council
    MONA VALE NSW

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  • 3.  RE:Asset Management Policy

    Posted 25-09-2012 16:30
    Wayne,
    In a prior career, I was strongly involved in policy, strategic and tactical activities.
    The policy (document) if it has been well established will cover long term "governance" issues that form the basis of operating the organisation.
    The policy would outline things like "Minimising lifecycle costs for the managed asset portfolio." or "Supply water and sewer services to better than the regulatory requirements."

    To implement the policy, there would then be strategic objectives set, like "Undertake corrective and preventative maintenance following identified best practice methodologies." or "Monitor and implement works to improve treatment facilities in line with regulatory requirements."

    The strategic objectives would then be supported by tactical actions.

    The generally long nature of lifecycle and duration of the strategic cycles involved in the type of asset portfolio we deal with really means that if the original policy was well determined, it should not need amendment inside of three strategic plan cycles. (This does not mean that it should not be reviewed/critiqued/examined/tested for validity.) Changing the policy inside that timeframe can often lead to waste since the actions put in place to support the original policy will not have provided the benefits, or maybe even reached a maturity where there effects will be apparent.

    I've used an analogy of farming to explain this.
    A farmer decides the crop he wishes to grow, ploughs the fields, waits for rain, plants the seed, tends the crop and finally harvests the benefits. He then progresses to the next cycle.

    If he ploughs the field every month, then whatever crop he has planted will not have matured. Further, the constant ploughing destroys the soil and it turns to dust and blows away. The necessary time cycle must be respected.

    Deciding to grow crops is the policy decision.
    Deciding which crop to grow is the strategic decision.
    Reacting to weeds, rain, broken fences and intruders is the tactical actions.

    I've seen situations where the only necessary reason to update the policy has been that the company name has changed, or the authorising senior executive has changed. A good policy will stand for a long time.

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    Lance Scriven
    Asset Performance Standards Officer
    Midcoastwater
    Taree NSW

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  • 4.  RE:Asset Management Policy

    Posted 25-09-2012 16:40
    Hi Wayne
    We've just updated our (External) Asset Management Policy to enshrine some of the key responsibilities and duties of those involved in Asset Management.  In particular I focussed on the need to ensure asset information flows from works to systems in a timely manner such that Financial and Asset Management may occur with accurate information.  The policy also empowers our management team to better manage those who are responsible for this important work.  Next steps include expanding on the policy framework by linking in new process and job descriptions updates.

    You can find the policy on our website here -
    http://www.charlessturt.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Asset_Management_Policy.pdf

    We've recently updated the Asset Accounting Policy too.

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    Reece Harrison
    Coordinator Asset Management
    City of Charles Sturt
    WOODVILLE SA  AU

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  • 5.  RE:Asset Management Policy

    Posted 25-09-2012 20:18
    Thanks Reece.

    The mention of your "Asset Accounting Policy" reminds me of something else I was going to ask.

    At the moment we actually have two Asset Management Policies.

    One is similar to yours (and what Darron has described earlier), and the other which is titled "Asset Management Policy (Operational Guidelines)" is a more detailed document - probably half way between an Asset Management Policy and an "Asset Accounting Policy".

    So my new question to everyone is, do you have a single Asset Management Policy or a "Strategic Asset Management Policy" and a "Operational Asset Management Policy"?


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    Wayne Eddy
    Strategic Asset Planning Coordinator
    City of Whittlesea
    BUNDOORA MDC VIC

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  • 6.  RE:Asset Management Policy

    Posted 26-09-2012 19:48
    Ladies and gentlemen
    Let's not get carried away with terminology.

    There should be 1 and only 1 policy document (covering an issue or activity).
    There should and generally is only one (sometimes zero) Asset Management policy.
    This is a strategic document and in fact sits above (and guides) the AM strategy.
    Let accounting do what they need to do and call their document what they want to call them, but the AM Policy needs to be written, supported and marketed by the AM team (people responsible for the assets well being).

    The AM Policy is a short, "sweet" 1-2 page document that lets everyone (in an organisation) know what Asset Management is about and what is IMPORTANT.
    It is not an operational document and it is not a strategy (by itself). It is the high level guiding force (if written correctly).
    Strategic stuff is in the strategy and ops stuff is in the Asset Management Plans (or even more detailed works and operational plans).

    Don't get confused and don't let other areas of council drive your AM Planning process - we need to take control, be passionate about it and drive asset management (based on good information and good intelligence) to achieve the desired outcomes.

    Regards

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    Darron Passlow
    Asset Management
    Pittwater Council
    MONA VALE NSW

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  • 7.  RE:Asset Management Policy

    Posted 25-09-2012 20:54
    Wayne,

    I think that's a critical issue - there are already too many pieces of paper in most organisations. From my perspective, the main purpose of the policy is to clearly communicate the intent of the senior executives to the entire organisation. If successful, this should encourage and support the desired behaviour and this will be visible through the way people talk about the assets at meetings, in documents and even around the break room . The organisations I've seen succeed with this have had very short policies (definitely no more than a page) that can be displayed publicly and read easily, just like a health and safety policy. All of the detail and procedures remain tucked away in a more comprehensive document or series of documents.

    Regards,

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    Scott Yates
    Senior Consultant
    Assetivity
    COMO WAau

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  • 8.  RE:Asset Management Policy

    Posted 26-09-2012 19:44
    I like the way you think, Scott.

    I think Local Government needs to somehow free itself of the burden of excessive numbers of policies, strategies, plans, frameworks, etc.
     
    If I had the power to change the status quo, I would do away with them all, and replace them with a Council Encyclopedia with a page for each topic of interest.
     
    Regards,

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    Wayne Eddy
    Strategic Asset Planning Coordinator
    City of Whittlesea
    BUNDOORA MDC VIC

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