Water & Sewerage Transition (North-Western Region) Report To Project Control Group ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ From Bevin Eberhardt - Project Manager ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Date 10 September 2008 Ref. NWRWST-4 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Re Project Managers Report ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ PURPOSE This report considers key issues that need to be considered at the WSTPCG meeting on 11 September 2008. DUE DILIGENCE (DD) Consultancy about to be finalised, meeting with GM’s on 17 September to explain the process. There will then be regional meetings with the project groups. It is intended that the consultant would visit each Council to obtain the relevant information. Need to nominate contact person at each Council. At present I have indicated the GM. Would you prefer the contact person to be one of your representatives from the reference groups? TERMS OF REFERENCE & FUNDS The terms of reference have now been satisfied and the first payment for the milestone funds will be released soon. MEETINGS & COMMUNICATIONS PLAN This plan has been completed in conjunction with the other regional project managers. The plan includes links to the IJSC and regional group meetings in order to avoid duplication/triplication. It is noted that each region is operating slightly differently but along the lines of the project business that the North West developed. LEGAL OPINIONS The southern region appears to have an interest in obtaining legal advice on most issues e.g. constitutions. They intend to request a contribution from each region towards the costs. The north has agreed to contribute. An allocation was made in the transition budget for consultants and we could use these funds. I suggest it makes sense for the south to pursue the legal advice provided it does not get out of hand. It is noted that legal issues will be integrated with the finance group. Suggested that the North West contribute to reasonable costs for legal advice. CONTRACTS & SERVICE AGREEMENTS • Suggested that any contracts to be renewed should be over 2 years to 30 June 2010. This will allow operations during the transition period and ensure contractors are available in the first year of operation. • It has been agreed that the Assets Group will deal with contract issues associated with capital works and asset services e.g. construction, telemetry service etc. • The HR Group will deal with issues on contracts relating directly to operations and employees e.g. reticulation operations, water meter reading etc. • The link with contracts could tie in with service agreements and give a consistent approach to contracts and service agreements. EMPLOYEES The employees appear to fall into the flowing categories: • Operational • Engineering • Common Services Corporation Most of the operational employees directly involved with WS will be listed in the due diligence and should be advised that they have been selected as soon as practical. The employees involved in drainage and across other services will need to be sorted out over the next 6 months in Council operations. The engineering staff is an issue with most operating on a proportion of WS. It is suggested that expressions of interest be called in those councils where this is an issue. This would at least get staff thinking about the issue and give us some idea of FTE’s to transfer or retain. The Common Service Corporation is a difficult area to assess staff as we will not know the shape of this until the first quarter of 2009. We will however need at least FTE’s for the DD process. I have put together Schedule 2 of the CSC and related clauses from the act in order to show staff what service are likely to be involved. The HR Group has drafted an EOI proforma for adaptation to each Council if they wish. It is suggested that an EOI and Schedule 2 be circulated to office staff to gauge their interest and at least make them aware of the situation with the CSC. This would at least get staff thinking about the issue and give us some idea of FTE’s to transfer or retain. VALUATIONS It has been decided by the Assets Group not to pursue revaluations due to the limited time available and it not being pursued by the North and South. It is also anticipated that the new authorities will be doing revaluations in the first year of operations in order to get a handle on the assets. The Assets Group will however be highlighting this issue with the DD Consultants and suggesting methods that may be appropriate to obtain consistent valuations. TRANSITION AND CONSEQUENTIAL BILLS It is proposed to put together a submission from each region and share information between regions due to limited consultation period again. The key broader issues I see are as follows: • All Council powers relating to water & sewerage will not exist after 30 June 2009. Water and Sewerage Districts will be deleted. This has potential to cause issues in the transition period, if there is one? • The Sewers & Drains Act 1954 will become the Drains Act 2009? This has more holes in it than stormwater infiltration into sewers. • The Planning Approval process will be legislated in respect to referral to TasWaS authorities. This will significantly slow down the development process. • The issue of Plumbing Inspectors is yet to be resolved. The Project Leaders and I are putting together the submission so if you have any issues please pass them on to be included. There will be workshops in the North and South on 16 September. The Project Leaders and I will attend the workshop in Launceston and anyone else is invited to attend.
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