Recent Engagement: Western Water is experiencing a major period of growth, with its served population expected to increase from 155,000 people in 2013 to 194,000 by the end of the current water plan period in 2018. A longer range estimate of 500,000 people is forecast for 2030(1).
In this regard, Western Water’s strategic plan has a core strategic theme of optimisation, through which the business will promote commercial sustainability, operational efficiency and integration and collaborative innovation.
In November 2015, Western Water engaged Marchment Hill Consulting (MHC) to review at a high level their Asset Creation processes and practices. Concluded in December 2015, this initial review recommended several improvements spanning Strategy and Planning, Capital Delivery and Development Services.
Key recommendations related to the Development Services function identified a requirement to streamline the land development process, in terms of alleviating administrative and other non-technical burdens, to allow optimal resourcing and delivery of Land Development Services.
In order to optimise Western Water’s Land Development Process, MHC conducted ‘As Is’ Land Development process mapping of the current approach, ‘To Be’ Land Development process mapping based on a new and optimised approach, and developed RACI matrices to complement the ‘To Be’ scenario, including a high-level implementation plan. This information was all contained in a detailed Land Development Process Guide.
In total, 15 process optimisation challenges were identified for resolution throughout the course of the Land Development process mapping and optimisation exercise.
Resolution of these challenges included a high-priority need for Western Water to strengthen the mechanisms that form the interface between Western Water and their external development stakeholders by means of formal agreements governing developer, consultant and contractor roles and responsibilities.
To support this change, MHC recommended a three-tiered hierarchy of systems to govern subsequent interactions. This includes a Developer Agreement that would set a standard relationship framework for each subsequent works application, as supported by mechanisms contained in associated Consultant & Contractor Deeds, and standard Western Water business policies, guidelines and quality assurance instruments (refer Figure 1).
Figure 1: Land Development Relationship Hierarchy
This approach provides benefits to Western Water and external development stakeholders alike by providing a more robust, standardised and quality-assured process for managing the ongoing delivery and receipt of gifted assets.
During process re-design, MHC also identified means to reallocate and separate the responsibilities for managing non-works development applications, and divert general administrative burdens away from Project Managers. This will facilitate an increased level of capacity and focus on the technical decision-making responsibilities of the Land Development team.
As a result of this process mapping and optimisation exercise, Western Water gained a clear understanding of its internal processes, resource and technology limitations. Improvements were also identified that could be implemented to enhance customer experience, minimise exposure to risk, streamline and standardise processes, ensure accurate and timely information, improve quality and costs of projects and resolve technical audit challenges.