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​​Policy, strategy and plans

​There are three key asset management documents – policy, strategy and plan.

The policy document outlines the principles that govern an organisation’s approach to asset management and the way it will apply asset management to achieve its organisational objectives.

The asset management strategy details the organisation’s asset management objectives and its approach to implementing the policy and achieving the objectives.

The specific asset level actions necessary to achieve the organisation’s asset management objectives are detailed, typically arranged by date, in the asset management plan.

For most agencies one document should suffice with separate sections for the policy, strategy, and plan. The key value in developing these documents is that it forces an organisation to think about their assets, the importance of those assets to it, and how they should be most appropriately managed.

Asset Management Policy

The asset management policy outlines the principles, requirements and responsibilities for undertaking asset management across the organisation (IIMM, 2011b, pg.4). It should be aligned to and demonstrate support for the organisation’s strategic objectives (ISO 55002, 2014c, pg. 7), be consistent with other organisational policies and be appropriate to the nature and scale of the organisation’s assets and operations (ISO 55001, 2014b, pg. 2).

Why develop an asset management policy?

The asset management policy guides the development of an AMS for the organisation’s assets and provides a framework for setting asset management objectives (ISO 55001, 2014b, pg. 2). It can also help to heighten organisational awareness of the importance of factoring asset management into its long term financial plans and high level documents. Allied to this, it is also an opportunity for Boards and the Executive Leadership Team to give greater visibility to asset management and signal their commitment to and priorities for asset management within their organisation (IIMM, 2011b, pg.4). Finally, an asset management policy can guide the organisation in its development of a suite of asset management documents, which will help to ensure that the organisation is meeting the government’s expectations around asset management.

How to develop an asset management policy for lessee assets

An asset management policy for lessee assets should be developed around several key headings.

  • Why the policy exists or policy purpose. This section should include specific reference to:
    • the Standards and Guidelines for the management of lessee assets and other GPG published standards and guidelines where applicable
    • the asset management principles in the GNPS
    • Treasury’s CAM framework
    • the Government’s expectations for asset management and reporting in Departments and Crown entities as set out in Cabinet Circular CO (10)2.
  • Organisational context.
  • Appropriate level of asset management given the nature and scale of the organisation’s assets and operations.
  • Asset management roles and responsibilities.
  • What assets/who the policy applies to.
  • How the policy will be applied or the principles that will guide the organisation’s commitments and expectations for asset management decisions, activities and behaviour.

Asset Management Strategy

The asset management strategy sets out the long-term approach the organisation will follow to implement its asset management policy and principles and to manage its assets (ISO 55002, 2014c, pg. 2). It also establishes the asset management objectives and describes the high level asset management practices, plans and programmes to be implemented to achieve the objectives. These will be primarily shaped by the organisation’s own strategic objectives. The asset management strategy helps organisations to work through the link between organisational objectives and the assets required to most cost-effectively support those outcomes (ISO 55002, 2014c, pg. 7).

The asset management strategy is then used to develop the asset management plan, which sets out specific asset level actions required to deliver on the asset management objectives (ISO 55002, 2014c, pg. 2). The asset management strategy will typically have a 10 year horizon, but can be longer.

Why develop an asset management strategy?

With the asset management policy in place the agency should use the development of an asset management strategy as the opportunity to understand two key things. Firstly, where the organisation is currently positioned in terms of its asset management practice; and what assets it has. Secondly, where it needs to be, or should be – ‘best appropriate practice’, in terms of its asset management practice; and what assets it needs. The development of the strategy should provide clarity around the agencies objectives and approach, without which, it is difficult to efficiently plan and manage the assets (IIMM, 2011b, pg.24).

How to develop an asset management strategy for lessee assets

The objectives of the asset management strategy are the basis of the strategy and provide the essential link between organisational objectives, the asset management policy and the asset management plan.

Objectives, specific to lessee assets, might include:

  • Meet the Government’s asset management expectations as detailed in relevant Cabinet Circulars, the GNPS and the Standards and Guidelines for the management of lessee assets Provide staff with a physical work platform that is fit-for-purpose and facilitates the meeting of organisational objectives
  • Provide staff and visitors with an environment that contributes to positive health and safety outcomes
  • Support efficient asset information management between the asset planning and management function and the corporate and business planning, and finance functions
  • Optimise the life cycle costs of lessee assets.

Reviewing current asset management practice should enable an agency to form a view of where its asset management practice sits and what improvements, if any, are required to meet its asset management objectives. The key asset management elements that need to be understood to shape this view include:

  • Levels of service: the outputs currently provided by the assets and what might be required
  • Asset demand: agencies requirement for lessee assets. This might include how critical, or not, each type of asset is to the agency
  • Asset data: what type of data is held by the agency and how; and what type of data is required and any associated information system requirements
  • Asset condition: the physical state of the assets and whether any assets usable life needs to be amended (i.e. identifying assets which may need replacement earlier than expected due to no longer being fit for purpose)
  • Asset maintenance: how best to ensure assets, through a mix of planned and unplanned maintenance, in the most efficient and effective way possible, deliver the required level of service over their life
  • Financial and funding strategies: how the agency can plan for and fund its lessee assets.

See IIMM, 2011b, pg. 5–10, 16–18 & 20–21 for more information.

Asset Management Plan

The asset management plan documents the life cycle activities; typically a mix of capital, operational and maintenance and disposal; to be undertaken so that assets are able to provide a defined level of service in the most cost effective way (IIMM, 2011b, pg.23). The asset management plan should include specific and measurable activities, performance criteria and outcomes (ISO 55000, 2014a, pg. 7).

Why develop an asset management plan?

An asset management plan provides the organisation with specific and measurable objectives to enable it to meet its asset management requirements in the most cost effective manner, and a method to measure its performance.

As well, the process of preparing an asset management plan can help to provide clarity around asset management decisions and identify gaps in asset management data, processes, and systems (IIMM, 2011b, pg.24).

How to develop an asset management plan

In developing asset management plans focused on achieving ‘best appropriate practice’ asset management, agencies may look to include in their plan:

  • How the plan connects with and supports the asset management policy and strategy Information currently held on assets and data required
  • Service levels and description of services (how asset information will be used and reported on)
  • Asset condition and performance
  • Demand forecasts and impacts (future agency business requirements)
  • Life cycle activities for acquiring, operating, maintaining, and disposing of assets
  • Financial information on asset values and depreciation rates
  • Planned renewal and upgrade works (including what it will cost and how it will be funded) On-going processes and timelines for monitoring, review and improvement of the asset management plan.

See IIMM, 2011b, pg.23 for more information.