Case study 3.3

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

Horizons Regional Council – Recognising what is common across the asset base and what is different, means you can say the common things once, and say them well, without cluttering up lots of plans with duplicated information

Horizons Regional Council, like many similar local authorities around the country, manages a range of river control and drainage schemes. The Council does its asset management planning at two levels because it recognises that there are policies and practices that apply across the whole asset base, but there are also aspects of service that vary from scheme to scheme. The Council has an overarching plan containing its "Common Policies and Procedures". This provides the context, covering:

  • the links between community outcomes and asset management plans; and
  • the legislative context, which specifies legislation that is relevant to asset management planning within the Council’s wider planning framework.

There is a service level framework that applies across the asset base, but, although levels of service are assessed against a consistent suite of measures, the Council has the flexibility to have different targets (or levels of the same service) across its various schemes. There is a good process for establishing these local levels of service, informed by community consultation through the Scheme Liaison Committees (which are used for regular consultation), and periodic Scheme Level Reviews (which are used for more fundamental decision-making).

Overall levels of service are presented in the overarching plan “Policies and Procedures common to all scheme assets managed by Horizons Regional Council”. Detailed levels of service are set out in the appendices to the Scheme Level plans.

The "Common Policies and Procedures" set out, in tabular form, strategic outcomes, customer levels of service, and technical levels of service, with associated performance measures.

There are a number of strengths in the way the Council sets out its service level framework:

  • there are good links between levels of service and quantifiable key performance indicators;
  • the strategic outcomes, in particular, are written in ways that can easily be understood by the public;
  • technical performance measures link directly to maintenance standards and allow the Council to define a detailed maintenance rating description for each asset type, which when grouped – flood, erosion, and drainage categories – provides an overview of whether a scheme is meeting the desired strategic outcome; and
  • links between technical measures and the Council’s goals are explicit.

Example of Horizons Regional Council's strategic outcomes and customer levels of service – agreed with the community through Scheme Liaison Committees and supported by detailed technical levels of service and performance measures

Strategic outcomeCustomer level of serviceTechnical level of service
  • The service protects people and property from the impacts of flooding
  • Flood flows that do not exceed 1% AEP* will be contained within stop-banks to protect adjoining developed areas and farmland
  • Asset is at maintenance rating 2 or above
  • The service minimises river bank erosion
  • River alignment maintained to a predetermined design alignment
  • Asset is at maintenance rating 2 or above
  • The service collects and conveys catchment run-off to minimise surface ponding
  • Maintain drainage capacity that facilitates maintenance of appropriate groundwater levels
  • Drainage channel is at maintenance rating 2 or above

* Annual Exceedance Probability, which indicates the probability of a flood of a given or larger size occurring in any one year.