Headlines: May 24th, 2006

Elected councillors, local authority chief executives and other senior officers who have responsibility for resources are being offered a chance to learn from last year’s beacon winning councils at an Asset Management Leadership conference organised as a final opportunity for those authorities to disseminate information.The conference next month has been organised by IDeA, which says asset management can have a major impact on councils’ comprehensive performance assessment scores. The beacon councils, it says, offer excellent examples of how good asset management can be embedded into wider business and financial planning cycle. The lessons are being adopted by the IDeA Asset Management Peer Review. Each of the Beacon councils, it says, provides an example on how to improve and together they represent a range of local authority experience.

The authorities taking part in the conference at the National Motorcycle Museum near Birmingham on June 20th include Ashford Borough Council, which is committed to high level, cross-organisational working and financial planning to build relationships between officers, managers and members. Cambridgeshire County Council, meanwhile, is challenging asset use including delivering buildings through partnership working. It is also using data and project management to improve efficiency.

Strategic leadership has been identified by Hertfordshire County Council as the key driver for setting measurable targets for property suitability and sustainability and Leeds City Council has a member and senior officer who act as champions for asset management. Also passing on an example of best practice will be Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, which believes high-profile total corporate governance is essential to achieving targets. Assets have to be maximised to transform the vision of community strategy into reality.