Case study 3.1

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

Manawatu and Rangitikei District Councils – Recognising the limitations of working in small local authorities led to some creative thinking about how to tackle these limitations

In general, small organisations can struggle to have the technical resources they need to manage assets. Manawatu and Rangitikei District Councils, recognising that they both faced similar limitations because they are small rural local authorities, have tackled this by working together. As a result, they have come up with an innovative way of pooling their expertise and the common elements of their planning. The two councils recently entered into a shared services agreement for asset services, with all staff now managed through the Manawatu Asset Group, although they work to the Rangitikei performance and development system. A 2007 memorandum of understanding set out the objectives of the arrangement, the scope of services, commitment to levels of service, governance, and costs. The shared services agreement has been in place since 1 July 2008. A co-ordinated asset management strategy, which covers the two districts, is being implemented.

The two councils have seen a number of benefits from the joint approach, including:

  • a more strategic approach to investment in renewals and capital;
  • better outcomes arising from the greater capacity of a larger team;
  • better information to the governance arm, facilitating better-informed decisions; and
  • better opportunities for career progression for staff.