Friday, September 26, 2008

Timbrell Park, Rodd Point

Timbrell Park is a lovely waterfront park in Rodd Point.  It's quite large, containing a number of sporting ovals and a playground.  

There are a number of picnic benches/shelters scattered around the park, and all are showing signs of wear and tear.  They are simply getting old and rusty after being exposed to the elements for years.

I'm not sure what the Council policy is regarding replacement of park furniture like this.  Nothing lasts forever, so they must have some sort of scheme for replacing it as it wears out - at least I hope they do.  You can't just leave this stuff until it rusts to the point where it just collapses in a heap on the ground under its own weight.

Plus the odd bit of vandalism.

This bin is a symbol of what can go wrong with outsourcing certain functions.  I am going to assume here that collecting rubbish from parks is an outsourced activity - just like our residential rubbish collection is done by a company contracted by Council.

Note that the bin is falling apart - it needs a replacement bolt, or a spot of welding, to return it to its original configuration.  It's been like this for months - I go past here regularly, and it has been leaning like the tower in Pisa like this since at least last year.

Now let's assume that Council has handed the contract for rubbish collection to someone else.  From that point on, no Council staff will have contact with these bins, so they won't be keeping an eye on them to ensure that they are in good condition.  Council managers would probably assume when they drew up the contract that the contractors emptying these bins would report any damage or maintenance issues, so that Council could fix them.

However, it may also be that the contractor is assuming that the Council will take care of any bin defects, and will somehow magically know about them without being told.  There is a major disconnect between the people on the ground emptying the bins and the Council managers in an office two suburbs away that are responsible for sending out a maintenance crew.

My point is that contracting out does not divorce you from the responsibility of ensuring that your assets are being looked after as they should be, and that problems are being reported.  Regular audits are required to ensure that the contractor is performing as required.

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