Victorian Department of Health and Human Services – Creating a clear line of sight with AMAF

1. Project Summary

Property and Asset Services (PAS), within the Housing and Infrastructure Division of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is responsible for implementing the housing strategies aimed at ensuring Victoria has healthy social housing that meets current and future community demands.

PAS is moving towards an agile Asset Management System (AMS) adapting to changes before they impact on its service commitments. To meet this challenge, PAS has embarked on an innovative approach to compare existing Asset Management (AM) practices against a new industry standard, train teams to think differently about asset management as an enabler, and then implement improvements that are delivering generational change.

2. Description of Project

2.1 Overview

The Victorian Government has provided housing for the disadvantaged since the 1930’s. This role now resides with PAS by providing a portfolio focus on housing, as well as providing best practice leadership for future infrastructure planning and project delivery.

PAS carries the responsibility for implementing  the Government’s homelessness and social housing initiatives. These initiatives are based on recognition that having a home can often provide people with the foundation to stabilise their lives, and better participate as part of an included community.

PAS manages a large, diverse property portfolio with assets worth $23 billion, housing 85,000 households across Victoria, which directly benefits more than 165,000 people.

In 2016, the Victorian Government’s Department of Treasury and Finance released the Asset Management Accountability Framework (AMAF) which requires all agencies to establish a framework that manages government asset portfolios to an industry recognised standard.

AMAF is consistent with the principles of ISO 55000, but it has been tailored to align with the AM needs specific to the Victorian Government covering:

  • Leadership and accountability
  • Planning
  • Acquisition
  • Operation
  • Disposal

This new requirement provided the opportunity for PAS to focus on its current practices and identify opportunities for improvement using innovative solutions. The intent from the outset was to develop lasting structure and governance that converted existing practices into agency knowledge, and develop new capability enabling gaps to be identified.

To achieve this, PAS committed to mapping how it conducted its business now, compare that with a new and innovative enterprise process that meets ISO 55000 asset management standard, identify gaps in process and capability, and consequently train staff building new systems to imbed lasting and sustainable management practices.

While organisations often create individual initiatives for system improvements, unless they are integrated into an end to end connected Enterprise Asset Management System (EAMS), improvements are often localised and short term. PAS recognised that if they followed this path, lasting system and cultural change was unlikely to be achieved. This is where a new set of Enterprise Asset Management Process Maps provided the key to bring these positive initiatives together.

2.2 Use of best practice Asset Management Principles

The PAS Executive Team were early adopters of AMAF, recognising and supporting the opportunity for change. PAS commissioned an independent gap analysis against the 41 mandatory requirements within AMAF, approved the recommended improvement actions aligned with ISO 55000, and leveraged new industry processes standards wherever possible.

One of the key AMAF requirements is the ability to demonstrate clear governance and process that connects the organisational requirements to actions delivering client services, i.e. “line of sight”.

While elements of good process already existed throughout the organisation, a consistency of approach, and the relationship between AM activities and other parts of the business was not established to a level that was required by the Framework.

PAS adopted the Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) process maps previously developed for the NSW Government as a baseline for reviewing its current practices and identifying improvements to traditional AM practices and related activities across PAS. The team chose these enterprise maps as they provided a full lifecycle view, were aligned with the requirements of AMAF and had been independently assessed by the Asset Management Council (AMC) as satisfying ISO 55000.

2.3  Degree of originality and ingenuity of solution – “Creating a clear line of sight with AMAF”

The PAS executives implemented sustainable change and commenced the process by defining its current capability, identifying appropriate solutions, developing a realistic roadmap, and then committing the resources to deliver the roadmap.

The main differentiator from previous programs was the commitment to develop an integrated EAMS driven by internal resources and supported along the journey by industry leading practices.

The decision to use the EAM process maps was based on a recognition of its ability to meet all the organisations’ requirements while providing confidence through the confirmation by the AMC that the processes aligned to the ISO 55000 standards.

A different approach: Connecting the day-to-day procedures to high-level process maps:

PAS also avoided the common mistake of focusing effort on operational activities only. PAS undertook a top-down and bottom-up approach to fully analyse and capture the “as-is” process of the branch that included a strategic and planning view through to operational activity (procedures) on the ground. With this approach PAS was able to:

  • Develop levels 0, 1 & 2 Asset Management process maps to capture the high-level processes of PAS and its units.
  • Provide the first clear view of the operational relationship between the business units and, more importantly, the interdependencies within processes.
  • Overlay this view against the EAM process maps and identify the real system gaps within an ISO 55000 aligned system.

Highlighting the interdependencies:

Once existing procedures were aligned to the high-level EAM process maps, the teams within each unit could see how their work was spread across the asset lifecycle and identify similar or correlated work other teams in other units were performing.

The boxes that have a combination of two colours indicate inter-dependencies

Creating lean processes:

By viewing similar procedures followed by individual teams working together within an end-to-end EAM process, any duplication of processes became clearly visible. This initiated inter-unit conversations to consolidate processes and eliminate duplication. This improved information and knowledge sharing among business units, and improved consistency across the business. PAS is now focusing on eliminating unnecessary and improving inefficient processes.

Bringing the RACI Matrix together with process maps:

Historically, roles and responsibilities were identified on a project basis. As part of the process mapping exercise PAS also implemented the RACI assessment tool (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed) for the high-level process and subsequently for each procedure. This eliminated confusion over responsibilities and helped the teams to understand where and how stakeholders contributed throughout the process. This assisted staff to understand when they needed to engage with  relevant stakeholders. It also resulted in better decision making as this process aims to reduce the need to revisit concepts and gain stakeholder input retrospectively.

RACI for high level processes

RACI defined for individual Procedures

By taking this approach, within a program designed to deliver a long-term EAMS, PAS combined the benefits of this new process mapping capability with the support of asset management training, to accelerate the implementation of real asset management improvements.

2.4  Program and Project Management

PAS established a Steering Committee, a Project Control and Working Groups to manage the changes. External specialist advice was contracted to conduct a gap analysis of existing practices and produce a roadmap of improvements that could be delivered by the working group.

The improvements were combined to 11 key projects. These projects were prioritised to ensure that the team developed new capability by leveraging existing strengths first, then progressively leverage new capabilities as they were developed.

While the working group focused on 11 key prioritised projects, the process mapping and staff training was seen as an integral step in developing an integrated system that could be supported by staff with AM capability to make the system operate better.

Implementing the AMAF was a change management challenge for PAS because staff had to be convinced that it would benefit their day-to-day work so that they would change their practices. An integrated system then had to be brought together and staff trained to use it appropriately. To achieve this, PAS contracted the AMC to conduct AM fundamentals training for executives and staff from across all parts of the department as one of the earliest improvement activities.

This assisted staff to accept the initial EAMS initiatives early on and now are increasingly engaged in transforming PAS and translating stakeholder requirements into both organisational and asset management objectives.

There are currently 31 staff with Asset Management Council Certificates in Asset Management and other PAS staff have been trained in asset management.

2.5 Benefit / Value of the project or service to the community or organisation.

Managing a large and diverse property portfolio requires informed asset planning; program formulation, delivery of the acquisition; disposals; upgrades; and, maintenance programs. This necessitates clear understanding of the asset base to effectively support service delivery to our clients, and ensure that housing asset investment is informed, appropriate and sustainable.

The work we have undertaken over the last year has provided the clarity in our processes, allowing us to come together with a common language and recognise the interactions, requirements and expectations between the PAS units and other stakeholders.

Our client and stakeholder needs are evolving faster than ever, and we are now much better equipped to recognise and respond to demands, define our asset information requirements, and continually improve what we deliver and the way we deliver to meet community expectations now and into the future. Our investments will continue to be more accurately targeted at where it will provide the best benefit to disadvantaged Victorians – and this is what we are all about.

3. Specific contribution by the nominated team

In many ways, this is a defining moment in AM service delivery for PAS. The Executive Steering Committee accepted the challenge of the new Government AM policy and recognised that they needed to implement lasting change. They sought out specialised team members for the working group and gave them the support they needed to deliver. The working group identified their team strengths and sought the external support needed to identify a clear and achievable roadmap of improvements. From this the working group implemented innovative methods, both systematic and behavioural, to achieve the required outcomes.

While PAS AMAF Working Group delivered the business outcomes, the executive steering committee maintained constant engagement and continued support throughout the journey. This top down and bottom up approach have led to a successful outcome that is continuing to deliver further improvements. This was brought about by a combination of the operational working group and the support of the Executive Steering Committee.

4. General comments

These changes acted as a catalyst for transforming our business practices and, considering asset processes and information as a fundamental for decision making.

There is now a deeper understanding on what our assets are. While our primary assets are ‘our dwellings’, our data, or any item or entity that has potential or actual value to us is now considered an asset and part of the organisation value chain. We think about asset-based solutions for our clients in all areas of our business, not just the operational teams.

PAS met attestation on 30 June 2018 with no material deficiencies. This is not the end of the program and improvements to the AMS continue, driven by new AM knowledge and the commitment, competence and enthusiasm of the PAS team. Our clients, the Victorian community, will be the beneficiaries of improved service delivery.

PAS is not satisfied with meeting a minimum standard, instead we are building on our foundations, leveraging our training and using our process maps to identify more opportunities for improved service delivery. We are currently planning and implementing embedded processes for:

  • standardising the data and business rules used for collaborative decision-making
  • benchmarking internal processes to acknowledged best practices
  • using asset-based decision-making to meet organisational objectives and future demand
  • continuously appraising the asset management system for improvement opportunities.

Our innovation of a true end-to-end process map incorporating operational activities ensures that AMAF is embedded into everything we do.

Attachment 1:  Asset Lifecycle Business Process Maps

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