• 30th November 2016 at 6:19PM
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I work in Yotta’s Professional Services Team as a Consultant supporting local authorities achieve best practice in Asset Management. My background of working in a local authority has given me experience in the difficulties that face our local councils.

Two years ago, I started my Masters in Highway Engineering Management at Brighton University and now it’s time to choose my dissertation title and I needed to think of a topic that I am particularly interested in. What better topic than something that I do every day!

When I started my Masters I was working for a local authority in the Highway Asset Management team, where to me asset management was the key to effective and efficient management of the highway. But I didn’t fully appreciate this wasn’t the case for all authorities. Although Asset Management principles have been widely accepted by both central and local government as a way of delivering value for money, there are still some local authorities who are struggling to deliver the basic principles such as a policy and strategy.

In 2014 the Department for Transport announced that they would now be linking funding to an authority’s ability to deliver value for money. But why do local authorities need that financial incentive to deliver asset management?

Working with Yotta has given me the opportunity to be involved with a variety of different authorities at different stages of their asset management journey. Some of the authorities began their journeys when the DfT Incentive Fund was released, others have been on their journeys for years and are now aspiring to ISO 55000 accreditation. What I find interesting about this is that not all of these authorities have had the incentivisation that the DfT are currently providing – so what is motivating them?

Most local authorities understand the importance of asset management and the need to deliver highways maintenance more efficiently. Part of their struggle is having the resource in place to deliver on the Asset Management recommendations, but there is also difficulty in gaining support from their senior decision makers. Understandably local authorities have immense pressure to keep the highway safe and serviceable. Sometimes it can be difficult to support longer term planning when the short term issues still stand.

The question I am therefore asking in my dissertation is: Are financial incentives the only way highway authorities will commit to asset management? Is there another way to encourage local authorities to follow asset management principles?

In order to answer my question I need to understand what has previously incentivised local authorities and private companies to commit to asset management prior to the incentive fund?  And more importantly has this new financial incentive bought about the right behaviour in the public sector when it comes to highway asset management.

If you would like to support my studies and give me an insight into your asset management journeys, and what would incentivise your authority to move forward with Asset Management, then please contact me at [email protected]