Part 9: Concluding remarks

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

Assets underpin our country, our economy, and the services we rely on. Although effective asset management is part of good service and financial planning, it is actually far more important than that.

Public sector services are underpinned by a complex infrastructure of assets. These need to be managed so that services delivered by and through assets are effective and efficient.

From roads, water, and drainage systems to parks, libraries, and swimming pools, in many instances assets are the main aspect of public services that people experience. In other instances, assets provide the basis for delivering a service, through hospital buildings and equipment, schools, universities, office blocks, libraries, and galleries.

The purpose of holding assets varies according to the type of organisation, and the scope and nature of its activities. In the public sector, the goal of good asset management is to support delivery of a level of service (whatever the service may be) in the most cost-effective manner, taking into account current and future customers.

Asset management means thinking about assets in the context of the services they are supporting, and being clear on the purpose of holding the asset. This might include supporting services today, enabling some future project (for example by banking a piece of land now so that it is available in future), or investment.

The Government sees our infrastructure, our assets, as one way to lift the sustainable growth rate of the economy by increasing productivity. It has set up a National Infrastructure Unit (NIU) within the Treasury, and a National Infrastructure Advisory Board to help improve the way public assets are managed.

Asset Management has never had this much focus, or been this important.