Case study 4.4

Asset management for public entities: Learning from local government examples.

Organisation D – Planning not being joined up means budgets, works, and levels of service are not linked

This organisation reviewed three aspects of its planning at the same time – its budgets, its planned works, and its levels of service. However, rather than these reviews being done in an integrated way, each was carried out in isolation in different parts of the organisation. Although individually each piece of work was good, the lack of integration between all three meant that the organisation’s plans were not well co-ordinated.

As a result, the asset management plans were not based on the levels of service that the organisation was planning to describe to the public. A levels-of-service review had been carried out separately from asset management planning. The policy officers leading this review intended to just restate the existing levels of service in a more understandable way. However, the asset managers were not involved and it was impossible for the asset managers to judge whether the work planned for the assets was appropriately targeted to support the updated levels of service.

Secondly, and perhaps of more significance, the organisation carried out its budget process separately from its asset management planning. As a result, it was not clear that the financial forecasts, particularly where cuts were made, took into account the factors such as renewal profiles, capital developments, and assumptions about future maintenance needed to manage the assets effectively against the levels of service.

It was not clear how asset management, levels of service, and financial planning were related. The organisation could not be sure that the information it had on its assets, and the lifecycle asset management plans that had been developed, would deliver the new levels of service, or be effectively funded under its financial forecasts. Where cuts were necessary, the organisation had not accompanied them by cuts in planned work or reduced levels of service, or considered the risk to the levels of service from reducing or deferring work.