General

Strategic Asset Management Plan

I had concerns reading the SAMP Report in the July 2013 Billet. Broadly, it appeared to be restruturing the civil service through a property rationalisation project, which to me was the wrong way of doing things. My speech in the States covered the issues. I was delighted that the amendment was passed.

Sir

I totally support the concept of a Strategic Asset management Plan. And in theory, how can anyone object? I believe that the diagram on p1098 which sets the Vision make good logical sense, at least in theory, and more on that in a minute.

I would like to focus on 3 specific points to explain why I can’t support this Plan as it stands and why I urge Members to support this amendment.

I will firstly focus on the strategic nature of the Plan itself.

The Institute of Asset Management Define an Asset Management Plan as a ;

Document specifying activities and resources, responsibilities and timescales for implementing the asset management strategy and delivering the asset management objectives.

And an asset management strategy is defined as a;

Long-term optimized approach to management of the assets, derived from, and consistent with, the organizational strategic plan and the asset management policy. The asset management strategy converts the objectives of the organizational strategic plan and the asset management policy into a high-level, long-term action plan for the assets and/or asset system(s), the asset portfolios and/or the asset management system.

In other words, the organisational strategy comes at the beginning and the Plan at the end of the process.

However, we have been presented with a Plan which is also setting organisational strategy. It quite openly sets out the need for the division between operational and strategic functions in the States of Guernsey.  The first time we as members should hear about this should not be in a strategic asset management plan.  It’s a bit like going to watch a film that’s been advertised as a Western and then watching it and finding it’s a Sci Fi movie.

Let me be clear, this does not mean I am against change. There are clearly problems with the current structure. However, nowhere in this SAMP does it set out why this structure would work better than now. My own belief is that no new structure will work unless and until there is a cultural change and a more collaborative approach from the centre, something I mentioned in the debate on the Government Service Plan and so I won’t go over that again now.

I would now like Members to turn to page 1129. This sets out the Plan’s compliance with the 6 principles of good governance, according to the authors of this report.  Some of the statements are tenuous at best and in the case of Core Principle 4 totally misleading.

Core Principle 4 states ; Good governance means taking informed transparent decisions and managing risk.

  • The supporting principle for Core Principle 4 are;
  • Being rigorous and transparent about how decisions are taken
  • Having and using good quality information, advice and support and
  • Making sure that an effective risk management system is in place.

 

The previous PAC in its report in 2011 on good governance used the example of the long running saga of paid parking to fund the Road Transport Strategy to highlight the importance of compliance with Core Principle 4. They stated; ‘the time and money spent on this issue demonstrates the difficulty experienced when attempting to implement decisions of the States of Deliberation which have been made on the basis of outline, in-principle decisions and/or amendments but which lack detailed analysis and costs.

We have no idea from this report whether there is a complete property register, whether any cost benefit analysis has been done, including consideration of life cycle costs, or that  any proper risk analysis has been done. None of that is apparent in this report. I don’t see a section headed up risks that explicitly state potential issues that will have to be managed – such as impact of another new project on what we are told is a civil service already overburdened with work, the impact of changes on difficult ways of working, the possibility that these proposals may conflict with other strategies that are currently in progress such as 2020 and Education Visions.

I refer all members to pages 1120 and 1121 and would like to ask you all, are you happy approving  £12 million of expenditure on the back of the information you see in this report and the fact there is clear non-compliance with Core Principle 4?

And that leads me to my final point.  Perhaps we would be happy giving PC and T&R the benefit of the doubt  if there was a proven recent track record of effective project implementation.

Members will be aware that at the last States meeting the T&R Minister stated that the implementation period for SAP had been extended to the end of the year due to the various problems that have been encountered and need to be resolved. This has the effect of delaying the post implementation review, which I believe will be crucial to establish whether lessons have been learnt for any future major project, such as a Strategic Asset Management Plan.

And let us not forget what was made clear in the GSP debate, this report is being submitted at a time when staff have more than enough to do already. Surely we therefore can’t be happy to accept, as it points out in 16.5 that this Assembly just approves the principles and then we let Policy Council and Treasury & Resources get on with it.

So, in summary,

Given the speed that this has been brought in, the lack of detail,  the lack of consultation and the overburdened staff and the fact this isn’t a Strategic Asset Management Plan at all,  I think it is our duty to slow the train down before it all goes off the rails. More haste less speed is in order here.

It is for all these reasons that I urge members to support this well crafted amendment by Deputy Fallaize and so ensure we have a better chance of ending up with a Strategic Asset Management Plan that is worthy of the name.

Budget questions

I asked the following questions of the Minister of Treasury and Resources in the budget debate at the December 2012 States Meeting.

 

Sir, I’m going to be brief and just ask 2 questions of the Minister.

In relation to Table A on page 35, bearing in mind the level of Tax on Real Property for office accommodation being used for regulated activities is 3 times that of unregulated activities, how can his department be satisfied that it is collecting the maximum tax due?

Given the vast majority of office accommodation is rented, and landlords may not be experts in what is, or isn’t a regulated activity, how are they expected to know whether their tenant is undertaking such an activity?

My second point is in relation to the wording used in section 4.17 regarding the cash limits for the Public Accounts Committee. Reading this is would be easy to get the mistaken impression that the Committee has increased its budget for the financial controls review.

A look at the Committee’s budget  for 2013 on page 69 makes it abundantly clear that this is far from the case and has been reduced by 20%. I would therefore be grateful if the Minister will affirm that this is the case and that the Public Accounts Committee can rightly be seen to be leading by example.

Download my manifesto

You can download my manifesto from here. It is a bit different from the usual – hope you like it!

 

 

If you would like me to send you a hard copy, just let me know.

Welcome

Hi there. My name is Heidi Soulsby and I am standing as a candidate in SE District. I hope you will be able to find some time to read about me, what I stand for and what I want to achieve if you elect me as Deputy.

I often hear people say ‘all these politicians are the same’. However, I can assure you that there is no-one currently sitting in the States of Deliberation that is like me. I hope that this manifesto will make it clear that I am not a typical politician. I want to see change in the way Guernsey is governed to bring it into the 21st century. The prevarications and procrastinations over the last few years have held the Island back. Delays in decision making have cost us millions. A lack of accountability and transparency have caused distrust and directly affected the lives of the Guernsey people, young and old. The current system has got to change and it can only happen with new blood in the States of Guernsey.

I hope to be able to meet as many of you in SE District over the coming weeks, but, if I don’t, feel free to contact me by any of the means shown on this site.

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 



Mobile: 07781 139385

Email: heidi@heidisoulsby.com