Conferences & Exhibitions Contractor

Working better together

Chris Hunt delivered the Transport Agency’s update 
at the Civil Contractors’ conference last month. 
ALAN TITCHALL summarises his presentation.

TOMMY PARKER, general manager of the NZTA’s System Design and Delivery team, was scheduled to present the annual agency update to the CCNZ conference last month, but couldn’t make it. Chris Hunt, senior manager project delivery for NZTA, presented for him.

“It’s Tommy’s words, but I will put some of my flavour into it,” he told conference delegates as he explained the agency’s new vision of “great journeys to keep New Zealand moving”.

“Our customers and businesses want faster, easier and more personalised transport. So we’ve made changes in the Transport Agency, and we are transforming the organisation to make sure we can deliver on our customer expectations.

“We’ve refreshed our organisation strategy, designed a new operating model, and made changes in our organisation structure.

“While we’re changing, we’re also staying very focused on delivery. We don’t anticipate these changes having an impact on our ability to work effectively with you.

“In fact our transformation is about setting ourselves up to be able to work more effectively with all our stakeholders and partners.

“Some of you probably have a view that maybe it is changing the way we are working with you, but I think that’s potentially stemming from uncertainty within the agency as we move into our new operating model – this will settle down over the next few months or so.”

System design and delivery

“The new System Design and Delivery Group replaces the old HNO many of you will be extremely familiar with.

“This group is charged with improving and maintaining the land transport system to effectively enable transport services across the whole transport system, not just highways.

“It’s made up of six teams, including the Operational Policy Planning and Performance team led by Kevin Reid. It’s about setting an operation direction, driving innovation, setting technical standards, providing governance, and measuring performance.

“The System Design team is being led by Brett Gliddon. This team will lead our whole system thinking. The team will play a major part in working with our stakeholders and partners on designing our system, public transport, highways, active modes such as walking and cycling, and local roads.

“The Programme Management Office is led by Tony Fisher. It’s charged with leading consistency of project delivery across New Zealand, and construction projects around the country or projects within the Transport Agency itself.

“The Procurement team is led by Cate Quinn with a focus on building on our current procurement practice. This team will also continue to innovate in alternative procurement models to drive efficiency and better value for money.

“The Project Delivery team is led by myself [Chris Hunt]. It’s all about delivering the work in conjunction with our project management office.

“While there are no regional teams as such, we still have people located around the country to enable them to work more closely with our partners, suppliers and stakeholders.

“And finally our System Management team, led by Steve Mutton, manages our existing transport system and the team is split on a geographical basis and holds key relationships with councils.”

Chris said many of these staff involved in the new operating model for System Design and Delivery will be familiar to the industry.

“So it’s still the same people that you’re actually dealing with whether it’s procurement, delivery or system management.”

Plenty of work coming up

Chris’ PowerPoint presentation included draft figures on minor roading improvements and maintenance that are indicative of what will be submitted to the RTCs (Regional Transport Committees).

“There are many working parts to this, including the 2018-21 NLTP [National Land Transport Programme] process, which we’re currently working through.

“And it’s also subject to guidance given by the government’s final GPS [Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2018] when that is released.

“So you’ll see there is plenty of work that is coming up. In the immediate future, the programme for this year is actually bigger than the programme for last year.

“Last year we were targeting just over $1.6 billion. We delivered just under $1.5 billion. This year we’re targeting just over $1.7 billion of work.”

Responding to a question from delegates whether the displayed figures cover a decade, Chris said no, as they will change in time as they involve both allocated and non-allocated projects.

“So, given the growth that we need to go through, we’re actively recruiting across our System Design, Delivery and Project Management business units.

“Right now I have a recruitment team looking for 17 project managers and three portfolio managers. And talking to a few of you – you’re experiencing the same [recruitment] problem.

“Let’s stop spinning the wheel and rotating people through our organisations. We need to start developing our own people, as a collective.

“Ultimately the wheel stops spinning. From a Transport Agency perspective, if we are carrying too many vacancies, we can’t actually get on and programme the work that we need to do, which in turn impacts the level of work we can provide to suppliers.”

In response to how the industry can develop people for the future, Chris indicated there could be roles for other government agencies such as MBIE.

“There are some projects around like Transmission Gully that have had some real success in working with MBIE and developing people for the future – people who will stay in the industry.”

Working with contractors

In his wrap up Chris said the Transport Agency recognises that to create a fully integrated transport system it needs to work with its partners, including contractors.

“We want to understand what outcomes and aspirations you have, so we can work alongside you to develop a shared view on how transport can support those wider outcomes.

“In our new way of working, Transport Agency people will be seeking to understand the challenges and opportunities you face both in terms of the transport system and how we can work better together.

“This means we will be interested in more than just the on-road transport outcomes. We want to work alongside you to do our bit in enabling the outcomes that you’re trying to achieve for your community and industry.”

This article first appeared in Contractor September 2017.

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