Case study 3.10

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

Dunedin City Council – Continuously reviewing levels of service ensures that they remain relevant

The Dunedin City Council has good systematic processes for developing levels of service. The annual corporate planning process starts with the councillors and the Executive Management Team holding a workshop to agree planning parameters to guide corporate plan preparation. Activity managers use a template to identify proposed changes in levels of service, and to provide supporting information (including service statements, measures and targets) and funding requirements/implications. A subcommittee of the Executive Management Team provides decisions to enable activity managers to complete the development of the pre-draft LTCCP or Annual Plan. The Council reviews the pre-draft plan and approves the resultant draft plan for consultation.

The Council then considers community responses. Adoption of the final Annual Plan or LTCCP completes the process. To assist with decision-making, activity managers may be asked for further information about the effect of potential changes in the levels of service during the council reviews. Financial modelling is available to assist with this.

The Council uses SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) performance measures that are meaningful to activities – thereby ensuring that it is measuring what matters. This promotes ownership and accountability, gives a clear work focus to the team, and drives ongoing improvement. The Council monitors its performance data through its intranet systems, with Executive Management Team reporting and review every quarter. Improvement action is initiated when there is any concern about performance.

Activity management plans include past performance and show future targets graphically. The Council is working towards setting targets that reflect benchmarking information and show the difference between Dunedin and New Zealand overall. Benchmarking is helped by including key measures in the annual Residents Opinion Survey and the biennial Quality of Life Survey.