The purpose of this paper is to explore the link between rationale, practice and outcomes in municipal property asset management and through this to gain an improved understanding of the emerging discipline of public sector asset management.
An analytical framework was developed comprising models to measure why councils carry out asset management (rationale); how they do it (practice) and what is achieved (outcomes). This was applied through an extensive survey of 18 councils and an intensive survey of three councils in a comparative study of UK and Russia. This paper draws on the UK field work only.
A weak but discernable link was found between rationale and practice, but the link between practice and outcomes was unproven. This lack of empirical evidence to show good practice leads to effective asset management remains a problematic area requiring further research and reinforces the orthodoxy that the adoption of practice is used as a proxy for measuring outcomes. Four “change factors” were identified as important in the transformation from property management to asset management and a broad typology was advanced to position cases in their path of evolution or level of maturity in this transformation process.
Cases were chosen to provide a mix in terms of their status, size and perceived maturity in asset management.
There has been limited examination of the linkage between rationale, practice and outcomes in asset management and the analytical framework and typology present some innovative conceptual thinking to explore the nature of an emerging discipline which remains problematic to define easily.
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