Council’s focus on Asset Management
Mayor’s Desk – 7 September 2017
Many times I have heard, if only government was run like a business, things would be different. I absolutely agree, things would be, but unfortunately because of the inherent differences between the functions of government and the functions of business there cannot be a seamless integration between the two.
Government is driven to serve the people and provide for the common good, whereas business is driven to make a profit. Sometimes these two goals oppose each other. Take the example from last weeks Mayor’s Desk, the pools. If we ran a business model, the community wouldn’t have pools because they make a substantial loss.
So even though a total business model is out of the question, I do subscribe to the notion that government can be run a lot more like business and that’s exactly what we are doing in council. This year we have a huge focus on asset management.
Asset management is a systematic process of deploying, operating, maintaining, upgrading, and disposing of assets cost-effectively. Basically it’s about getting all the relevant information and then using this to make the best possible decisions within the available budget. NBRC has over $1 billion in assets to look after and a budget of about $32 million to do it. Good data which then drives good decisions should be running our council’s operations and not political ideals. This may sound perplexing and somewhat harsh however lets take roads as an example. With good asset management we will collect data which lets us know which roads are not meeting expectations (intervention levels) and we will be able to prioritise our funding and work programs for the entire region around this (the business model). Without good asset management, the squeaky wheel may get the oil (this is the political model).
When we get asset management right we can stand behind every single decision we make as we will know it’s the right one, and in fact the best one we could have made for the common good. After all, isn’t that what we are elected to do?