AUDIT & PERFORMANCE REVIEW COMMITTEE ON 26 TH SEPTEMBER 2007

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1 PAGE: 1 REPORT TO: SUBJECT: BY: AUDIT & PERFORMANCE REVIEW COMMITTEE ON 26 TH SEPTEMBER 2007 ASSET MANAGEMENT CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER 1. REASON FOR REPORT 1.1 To provide the Audit and Performance Review Committee with an overview of the Council s work in relation to Asset Management. 1.2 This report is submitted to Committee in terms of Sections G(9) and G(10) of the Council's Administrative Scheme relating to the scrutiny functions of the Audit and Performance Review Committee. 2. RECOMMENDATION 2.1 The Audit and Performance Review Committee is invited to consider the progress made towards developing Asset Management procedures and processes. 3. BACKGROUND 3.1 To assist the Audit and Performance Review Committee in considering a range of projects and services, a standard framework has been established for reporting purposes based on answering the questions: Why? What? and How? This framework may need to be reviewed and refined, depending on how well the first reports meet the needs of the Committee. 4. OVERVIEW Why Asset Management? 4.1 Asset Management is a key component of the Efficient Government Agenda and contributes to the achievement of continuous improvement and sustainable development, key requirements of the Best Value regime. The Prudential Code for Capital Finance requires that the Council s capital investment plans are affordable, prudent and sustainable. Good stewardship requires that Asset Management be fully integrated with financial planning.

2 PAGE: Asset Management is commonly defined as optimising the utilisation of assets in terms of service benefits and financial return. Assets are held primarily to support the provision of services and should be used to maximise service benefits in the most economic, efficient and effective manner. Good Asset Management ensures that assets match the needs of service provision now and in the future. This means having the most suitable assets and maintaining them appropriately. 4.3 Asset Management takes a strategic, rather than operational, approach to managing assets over their entire lifecycle. It covers their procurement and construction as well as their ongoing management, maintenance and disposal. Asset Management brings questions of practicality, affordability, sustainability and impact on service delivery to the fore in decision-making. 4.4 A key output of the Asset Management process is an Asset Management Plan, which should aim to ensure that: Assets are matched to service needs; Assets are used in an efficient, effective and sustainable manner; Expenditure on assets maximises Value for Money; and, The financial return on investment and surplus assets is maximised. To meet these aims, it is essential that an explicit, co-ordinated approach to Asset Management be implemented across the Council. 4.5 The Council owns a wide range of assets with a book value in excess of 490m. Last financial year, the Council s asset portfolio was enhanced through a Capital Programme of some 25m, with approximately 11% of the programme funded by the sale of surplus assets. Whilst much of the focus within the public sector has been on Property Asset Management (nonhousing land and buildings account for some 40% by value of the Council s asset portfolio, with Council Housing accounting for a further 46%), it is essential that the Corporate Asset Management Plan covers all asset types. Given the scale of the Council s portfolio of assets it is fundamental that accurate records of assets are maintained. A summary of the Council s portfolio of assets is attached as APPENDIX A to this report. 4.6 If used effectively, and as an integral part of the Council s performance management framework, Asset Management has the potential to produce significant budget savings, contribute to improved service delivery, and identify scope for increased partnership working. What are we doing about it? 4.7 The Asset Management Working Group (AMWG) was formed to oversee and direct Asset Management across the Council. Initially, the AMWG concentrated on determining the extent of Asset Management information held and identifying the resources required to implement improvements. A key requirement being the need for a dedicated member of staff to drive the initiative forward the present incumbent being appointed in May 2005.

3 PAGE: An important aspect of Asset Management is the development of asset management information to support longer term financial planning and reporting requirements such as, for example, that required for Capital Accounting. To this end, a new Asset Register and Capital Accounting system was implemented. The Terrarius system was used successfully to support the Annual Report and Financial Statements for the financial year ending 31st March Detailed asset information is held within the specialist systems used within service departments to support the day-to-day management of different asset types. 4.9 In the past, investment needs were identified by service departments who were required to submit a separate bid for each capital project. These bid forms were collated and presented to Service Development Group for consideration. Often, there was little information provided on the background to the proposals, the alternative options that had been considered or the links to other related proposals. In the future, the Asset Management process will identify the Council s investment needs and feed these into the financial planning process. Asset Management Plans (AMPs) will draw together the requirements identified by service departments for asset acquisition, development, maintenance and disposal. The AMWG in its supervisory role will review these AMPs before submission to Service Development Group for final consideration and approval as part of the overall Capital Plan. As the Council has moved towards this goal, service departments have been encouraged to group related projects and programmes together and provide better quality information on the outcomes and outputs they have been designed to deliver, the risks associated with the project, and the options that have been considered. This has helped reduce the volume of paperwork required to be considered in formulating the Council s Capital Plan By challenging the capital investment needs identified through the financial planning process, whilst balancing service needs with corporate objectives, the AMWG informed the recommendations made to Service Development Group in respect of the capital programme. Scrutiny and challenge by such a group of senior officers is recognised as good practice Asset Management is well advanced within the Council s Housing Service, as detailed below. The AMWG is now concentrating on facilitating the development of AMPs for all other asset types by developing Asset Management policies, frameworks and guidance. To assist service departments in preparing AMPs, the AMWG prepared a corporate framework for their development. This followed on from the approval by the Policy & Resources Committee on 29th March 2006 of the vision and objectives that underpin the framework (para. 9 of the Minute refers). The framework was completed in May 2006 and rolled out to service departments over the following months. Whilst the framework identified specific performance indicators for property assets, it is envisaged that each AMP will identify appropriate performance indicators for the particular assets covered, with the lead officer in each case being responsible for ongoing performance reporting. A copy of the framework is available in the Members Library and on request from Committee Services.

4 PAGE: At its 29th March 2006 meeting, the Policy & Resources Committee noted that the AMWG would oversee the production of AMPs for the following asset classes (para. 9 of the Minute refers): Council Dwellings (Moray Housing Business Plan & Housing Standard Delivery Plan) Lead Officer: Chief Housing Officer. Land & Buildings (Property Asset Management Plan, covering all nonhousing properties including schools) Lead Officer: Head of Estates. Transport Infrastructure (Roads Asset Management Plan) Lead Officer: Road Maintenance Manager. Fleet Management (Vehicles Asset Management Plan) Lead Officer: Fleet Service Manager. Computers & Associated Equipment (ICT Strategy & Asset Management Plan) Lead Officer: Head of ICT Services Moray Housing Business Plan & Housing Standard Delivery Plan In February 2003, the Council agreed an Investment Strategy for its housing stock. Since then, the strategy has been updated annually. In common with all Scottish local authorities, the Council was required to prepare a Housing Standard Delivery Plan by April The purpose of the Plan was to demonstrate how the Council would achieve the Scottish Housing Quality Standard by The Delivery Plan was supported by a Housing Business Plan, which demonstrated that the Council could fund the necessary works whilst maintaining a positive balance on the Housing Revenue Account and keeping rent increases to inflation plus 1% for 26 years of the 30 year plan, with inflation plus 1.5% being required for 4 years. The Council s Plan was submitted to Communities Scotland for assessment in April 2005 and accepted by them in The Housing Standard Delivery Plan recognised that the Council would need to adjust its future investment programmes to ensure the delivery of the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and the Moray Housing Standard. The Housing Business Plan is reflected in the development of the HRA Budget and associated Investment Strategy for The Council has exceeded the milestones set out in the Delivery Plan. Progress is reviewed annually and reported to the Policy Committee Property Asset Management Plan, incorporating SEMP The AMWG is overseeing the development of a corporate Property Asset Management Plan (PAMP) covering all non-housing land and buildings, including the school estate. Educational Services developed a standalone School Estate Management Plan (SEMP) in November This plan is under review with a view to reflecting current circumstances and the changing priorities of the Scottish Government. Whilst there is an ongoing requirement to prepare and submit a separate SEMP, the scope of the plan has widened since it was first developed. An example of this is found in the proposals to move libraries into schools. In future, therefore, it will become increasingly important for the SEMP to be developed in conjunction with the wider PAMP, the first of which will cover the financial years The PAMP will be reviewed and rolled forward annually thereafter. In 2004, the major issues identified within the SEMP were:

5 PAGE: 5 A significant and continuing decline in school rolls; A consequent increasing overcapacity within schools, particularly in the primary sector; The age and suitability of a significant proportion of the primary sector; The suitability of the secondary sector; and, Increasing maintenance costs Initial estimates to refurbish the school estate were provisionally identified as 93m. Reference has been made on several occasions to the potential financial pressure this would place on the Council. Potential solutions were seen as a school-based PPP and rationalisation of the school estate. Delays in both these processes have impacted upon the Council s ability to plan for the future. (PPP is the subject of a separate report to this Committee and consultation on the future number of primary schools has been reported extensively.) As a result of these, the main focus of capital investment to date has been on the secondary sector or on school projects related to the Council s Leisure & Healthy Living Programme. Only limited work has been undertaken on issues related to the primary school sector An immediate concern relates to the affordability of the schools PPP. Other issues relate to the investment implications of maintaining the operation of all existing schools, providing additional classroom space to accommodate reduced class sizes, and addressing the aspirations for the quality of the school estate (21 st Century Schools). A summary of the most up to date position in respect of Schools is provided as APPENDIX B to this report To facilitate the integration of property investment requirements across the Council, asset performance indicators for all non-housing properties have been developed that are fully compatible with those developed and used for schools. The Policy & Resources Committee approved these indicators on 25 th May 2006 (para. 11 of the Minute refers). The Council is participating in a facilitated benchmarking service for these indicators, which will inform future property performance reports Historically, the Council suffered from a fragmented approach to the maintenance of its property assets. The condition of the property portfolio and the extent of the maintenance backlog reflect this past lack of an adequately resourced planned maintenance programme. Since the beginning of this financial year, repairs and maintenance budgets for General Service properties have been consolidated under the overall control of the AMWG to facilitate the development of a 5-year rolling programme of planned maintenance. This allowed the AMWG to develop a Building Maintenance Strategy for General Service properties. The Policy Committee approved this strategy on 29 th August Work is underway to assess the long-term financial impact of changing from predominantly reactive to more planned maintenance. The expectation is that there will be savings in the longer term and consideration will need to be given to the short-term costs of the transition to the planned maintenance regime.

6 PAGE: Council policy on surplus assets is that the Committee that has been utilising a particular asset declares them surplus to operational requirements. The subsequent disposal is then treated as a corporate matter. Relevant delegated authority is in place in respect of disposal of surplus assets, which is an area of historic good practice. The amount and value of surplus properties has declined steadily over recent years as the Council has become more efficient at identifying and disposing of surplus assets. Unless there are significant changes in Council services, there will be little scope for identifying significant levels of surplus properties in the future Roads Asset Management Plan In August 2006, the Council supported the Stage 2 Efficient Government Fund (EGF) bid for a National Roads Asset Management Framework being promoted by the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS). Whilst this bid was unsuccessful, a unified Scotland-wide approach is regarded as the most effective way to develop roads AMPs and would be supported by Audit Scotland. Therefore, SCOTS are considering how this might still be taken forward, albeit at a lesser pace and to a lesser extent than proposed in the EGF bid. SCOTS are in discussion with Transport Scotland to see how they might assist this process The baseline condition of all roads has been established through the Scottish Road Maintenance Condition Survey (SRMCS) programme. Whilst the survey results inform the development of work programmes, priority is given to schemes on the basis of both engineering judgement and safety issues Environmental Services have incorporated Asset Management principles into their performance reporting and are investigating the potential benefits of introducing new Asset Management software to support the management of the roads infrastructure. These investigations include the potential for developing this as a shared service Due to the absence of a national framework, a date has yet to be agreed for developing the Moray Roads Asset Management Plan Vehicles Asset Management Plan A Stage 1 EGF bid submitted by Grampian Police on behalf of the Grampian Joint Public Sector Group (Grampian Police, Grampian Fire & Rescue Service, NHS Grampian, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and Moray Council) in relation to rationalising vehicle procurement across the group was unsuccessful. Fleet Services are working with a range of Scottish local authorities to investigate the potential synergies and economies of scale to be gained from the formation of a wider Scottish Transport Procurement Partnership. It is envisaged that this partnership would be responsible for all aspects of procurement in relation to fleet management.

7 PAGE: Service Level Agreements are being developed to ensure that the acquisition, use and disposal of vehicles are dealt with in the spirit of Efficient Government and according to best Asset Management principles Fleet Services have a 10-year rolling programme for vehicle and plant replacement in place. This programme will be developed into a Vehicles Asset Management Plan for the financial years The plan will be reviewed and rolled forward annually ICT Strategy & Asset Management Plan An ICT Strategy & Action Plan was first prepared for the financial years Since then, the plan has been reviewed and rolled forward annually. ICT Services are currently the subject of a Best Value Review. Officers are taking this opportunity to review the format of the plan, develop it further in accordance with the principles of good asset management, and extend it to cover a 5-year period. The new ICT Strategy and Asset Management Plan will be developed for the financial years Capital Strategy & Corporate Asset Management Plan The corporate Asset Management process plays a key part in the Council s financial planning arrangements. Determining investment needs through the Asset Management process will facilitate the production of a single combined Capital Strategy and Corporate Asset Management Plan covering all asset categories. Progress towards this goal was made through the investment needs process adopted for the current Capital Plan. It is proposed that the first fully integrated document be prepared for the 5-year period commencing 1st April 2009 and that it be reviewed and rolled forward annually thereafter Other Issues The AMWG is aiming to change the approach taken to Asset Management. One such change is the planned corporate approach this gives the group responsibility for allocating, for example, office accommodation. This will result in equitable and standard space and condition standards for most Council Services. No matter how good the strategy, however, successful implementation will depend upon how conducive the Council's culture is to the implementation of that strategy. Organisations must continually change and develop in order to improve. An important aspect of implementing an Asset Management approach, therefore, will be the management of change, not least in relation to the adoption of a more corporate approach The AMWG is involved in the Flexible Working project, which is looking at alternative working practices and arrangements to reduce the amount of office space required by using a combination of hot-desking, mobile working and Homeworking.

8 PAGE: Work is ongoing to ensure that accurate records of assets of the various Common Good funds are available. Where these relate to land and buildings, details are held on the corporate property database operated by Estates Services. At present, there is no single asset register containing details of all Common Good assets. Details of the information currently held have been provided to those who have requested such details. This information will be added to the Council s Terrarius Asset Register over the remainder of the current financial year and made available on the website As the Council s Asset Management arrangements progress, the AMWG will ensure that the Asset Management process is extended to cover all other assets under Council control, such as those owned by trusts, Common Good funds and organisations such as the Moray Property Development Company. It will become increasingly important to extend these arrangements to the Council's joint working with its Community Planning Partners and with other public bodies with whom it is developing Shared Services arrangements. How are we doing it? 4.20 To assist in the production of its Housing Standard Delivery Plan the Council commissioned consultants to complete a 20% sample survey of its housing stock. This survey was undertaken in mid Consultants were also commissioned to prepare the Business Plan, now used to underpin the Housing Revenue Account budget. The Business Plan model used is complex but well tried and accepted by Communities Scotland. It is likely that the Council will continue to employ these consultants to update the Business Plan on an annual basis, as the Council does not have this specialist resource in-house The SEMP was produced between 2003 and 2005 utilising funding of 154k from the Scottish Executive. Consultants were used to support its development, with their expertise being focused upon the analysis of data and the production of a working draft of the document. In-house staff gathered the original data and refined the document to produce the final plan. Subsequent reviews of the plan have been undertaken in-house with external support being used as appropriate An additional post of Asset Management Coordinator was created in 2005 to carry out the duties associated with the development of Asset Management across the Council Property Services and Estates absorbed the additional workloads associated with carrying out condition surveys of all the Council s non-housing buildings through the short-term expedient of reprioritising existing workloads. As a result, necessary but lower priority work has been delayed. Condition surveys will be updated as part of a 5 year rolling programme of inspection of the Council s property. This will become part of a new way of working as the planned regime of property maintenance develops, decreasing the need for staff to deal with response repairs on an ad hoc basis.

9 5. SUMMARY OF IMPLICATIONS PAGE: 9 (a) Corporate Development Plan/ Community Plan/ Service Improvement Plan The recommendations support Working Principles 3 (sound governance at a strategic, financial and operational level) and 4 (sound management of resources) of the Corporate Development Plan. Working Principle 4 includes a commitment to review and develop Asset Management Plans to ensure that assets perform effectively and meet legislative requirements. (b) Policy and Legal Asset Management is undertaken in the context of the need to achieve Best Value under the Local Government in Scotland Act The integration of Asset Management with Financial Strategy is a requirement of the Prudential Code. Asset Management is one of the workstreams identified by the Efficient Government Initiative. (c) Resources (Financial, Risks, Staffing and Property) The identification of capital and revenue investment requirements through the processes outlined in this report will have significant funding implications. These will be dealt with through the current and future financial planning processes. (d) Consultations The Asset Management Working Group has endorsed the approach outlined in this report. 6. CONCLUSION 6.1 This report provides an overview of the work undertaken in relation to the introduction of Asset Management. The Audit and Performance Review Committee is invited to consider the progress made towards developing Asset Management procedures and processes. Author of Report: Andrew A F Gray, Asset Management Coordinator Background Papers: Policy & Resources Committee 28 th September 2005 Policy & Resources Committee 29 th March 2006 Policy & Resources Committee 25 th May 2006 Policy & Resources Committee 28 th March 2007 Policy Committee 13 th June 2007 Policy Committee 29 th August 2007 Ref: A&PR/ /aafg/MP/LMS/349422/349426/349427

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