2 Work Planning and Delivery

Work Planning and Delivery / Western Australia

Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA) is responsible for Western Australia’s highway and main road network. MRWA represents one of the largest geographically spread road agencies in the world, covering an area of 1.55 million square miles. The agency is responsible for approximately 11,200 miles of Western Australia’s 93,000 mile network (12%) which carries 60% of the state’s traffic. MRWA has been a leader in trialing alternative procurement models to manage operations, maintenance and renewal on their road network.

Beginning in the mid 1990’s MRWA underwent major restructuring, and at that time shifted from performing highway asset management and maintenance activities using internal forces to outsourcing these activities through a set of 10-year contracts. As initial outsourced contracts came to an end, MRWA took the opportunity to capture lessons learned over the previous years and researched other national and international methods for delivery of maintenance activities. These investigations concluded that MRWA should pursue a new procurement strategy based on the use of Integrated Service Agreements (ISA). An ISA is a contracting arrangement in which the private sector and agency staff work together to deliver, in an integrated manner, a range of services including Operational Asset Management, Road Maintenance, Improvement Delivery and Network Operations. In essence the ISAs “in source” private sector partners to help deliver the range of integrated services that are core to the MRWA business. To do this the ISAs incorporate a performance specified outcome-based approach. The agreements integrated a number of services that were being delivered by a range of different methods and enabled MRWA to regain much more control and influence on when and how the services are delivered, particularly in regard to asset management decisions for maintenance. The shift to this contracting model was driven by:

  • The need to rebuild capability and capacity within Main Roads and thereby assist Main Roads to remain an informed purchaser of asset management services. This was achieved by forming close, collaborative working relationships with industry where the best people and systems from each organization are used to deliver “needs based” asset management and “best for network” outcomes;
  • The understanding gained from past models that risk needs to be appropriately allocated to the party best able to manage the risk; and the need for flexibility in the model to adapt to changes in network needs and broader Governance issues.

Post-ICA contract renewals further transitioned contract models to advance several agency objectives. These goals included centralizing strategic asset management work, retaining agency core capabilities, demonstrating value for money, continuous improvement and fit for purposes reporting framework and target setting. Recent contracts build in ICA learnings, and are a reflection of changing market factors and enhancing corporate capabilities.

Source: https://audit.wa.gov.au/reports-and-publications/reports/maintaining-state-road-network-follow-audit/appendix-3-integrated-service-arrangements/

Read more in the chapter: 5.4.2 Implications for Resource Allocation