Blacktown City Council recognised by Local Government Excellence Awards

Blacktown City Council recognised by Local Government Excellence Awards

Our friends at Blacktown City Council have recently been recognised for their outstanding efforts towards innovative service delivery. The Council has recently received ‘Highly Commended’ status in the ‘Service Delivery Initiative – Population Over 60,000’ category of the Local Government Excellence Awards for 2020 for the Blacktown City Council VAPAR Pilot Project we partnered on in 2019.

According to the Awards, the ‘Service Delivery Initiative’ category recognises ‘initiatives that demonstrate best practice (outstanding action), or the pursuit of excellence in the delivery of a service(s) to the community or a specified target market that is able to be continued on an ongoing basis.’

The Local Government Excellence Awards highlighted that Blacktown City Council’s embrace of innovative technology (that’s where VAPAR comes in) to improve service delivery was pivotal in their achievement of ‘Highly Commended’ status.

About the Pilot Project

As part of their review of Asset Management Strategy and Support Services in 2018-2019, the Council’s Better Practice Review (BPR) Program identified the management of drainage infrastructure as a key area for practice improvement, especially considering Blacktown’s projected population rise to 560,000 by 2050.

Specifically, Council were interested in engaging a technology which allowed them to better utilise data to drive the planning and decision-making for its Asset Management Plans. Due to their labour-intensive nature, visual pipe inspections had not previously formed part of the data collected for asset management condition assessments. Instead, Council had relied on ‘estimated useful life projections’ in its asset management plans for pipes.

This is where our partnership with Blacktown City Council began – a trial inspection of 3km of pipe CCTV footage, with a view to finding a solution to proactively manage the Council’s 1,160km of pipe infrastructure and make data-driven decisions moving forward. Finding a viable solution to this challenge was something that Council’s Asset Planning Engineers had been keen to tackle for some time.

By project end, the Pilot Project had demonstrated an overall success rate of 84.6% in the identification of pipe defects. Most importantly, Council had taken steps to adopt a technology-based approach to their service delivery, allowing them to inform Drainage Asset Management Plans with standardised asset condition data.

What made Blacktown City Council stand out from their peers?

By seeking a technological solution to address a key area for practice improvement highlighted by the BPR Program, Blacktown City Council were able to greatly improve their service delivery, creating a proactive approach which utilised data to drive decision-making.

Even more crucially, Blacktown City Council were able to implement this change whilst also circumventing weeks of labour resources that would have been normally required (hooray for automation!).

The Local Government Excellence Awards highlighted that Blacktown City Council’s Pilot Project with VAPAR was an excellent example of how Blacktown City Council is embracing emerging technology as a mechanism for improving service delivery. The Awards felt that the Council’s partnership with VAPAR represented a great example of how councils can harness start-up technology companies to address complex asset management challenges.

So…Congratulations to the Blacktown City Council team!

Naturally, the team at VAPAR is enormously excited that our partners at Blacktown City Council have been recognised for their efforts; we feel that this recognition is a fantastic payoff to an organisation which walks the walk on their commitment to ‘Building the Best’ Council in Australia.

As such, we’d like to congratulate everyone from the Council who was involved in the Pilot Project, and commend the Council for their innovative and proactive approach in making data-driven decisions to make the delivery of asset management as effective as possible.

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