Asset management

Cover of Managing Asset management Related Civil Liability Risk
Managing Asset management Related Civil Liability Risk
  • Publication no: AP-R412-12
  • ISBN: 978-1-921991-39-4
  • Published: 14 August 2012

Claims for compensation brought by road users against road authorities remain a significant issue across Australia. Further, the claims environment varies between jurisdictions (states and territories) and differences have been found in the understanding, urgency and policy responses to the key liability concepts and issues as they relate to highways.

It is imperative to note that the objective of this report is to improve awareness and provide practical guidance. It is not a legal textbook or repository of case law, nor does it set out to provide legal opinion. This is the domain of a road authority’s legal representatives.

The underlying principle adopted throughout this report is that preventing incidents occurring through sound asset management practices is a far better strategy than choosing to rebut or defend all claims received regardless of the scenario and technical issues involved.

  • 1. Introduction
    • 1.1. Background
    • 1.2. Purpose, Scope and Limitations of this Guideline
      • 1.2.1. Purpose of this Guideline
      • 1.2.2. Scope and Limitation of this Guideline
      • 1.2.3. Disclaimer
    • 1.3. Key References
    • 1.4. Dissemination of this Guideline and Ongoing Support
  • 2. A brief introduction to highways-related civil claims
    • 2.1. Why Do Claims Occur?
    • 2.2. The Common Law, the Civil Law and the Assessment of Claims
    • 2.3. Why are Highway Claims so Significant?
      • 2.3.1. A Dissatisfied Customer
      • 2.3.2. A Drain on Resources
      • 2.3.3. A Significant Test of Asset Management Systems and Communications
  • 3. A brief history of road authority civil claims
    • 3.1. Position Prior to 31 May 2001
    • 3.2. The High Court Judgements in Brodie and Ghantous
    • 3.3. After Brodie and Ghantous (May 2001 to date)
      • 3.3.1. Contractors and ‘Actual Knowledge’
      • 3.3.2. Victorian Road Management Act 2004 (Amended 1 January 2010)
      • 3.3.3. Summary
    • 3.4. The Future?
  • 4. Practical guidance in preventing (and reducing exposure to) highways-related civil liability claims
    • 4.1. Underlying Strategy – Prevention is Better Than Cure
    • 4.2. Specific Guidance
  • 5. Strategy, Policy, Standards and procedures
    • 5.1. Statutory Obligations and Safety First!
    • 5.2. Ensuring a Logical ‘Top Down, Bottom Up’ Document Hierarchy
    • 5.3. The Need for Clear, Unambiguous Statements of Strategy, Policy, Standards and Procedures
    • 5.4. Understanding the Likely Implications and Consequences of a Strategy, Policy, Standard or Procedure
    • 5.5. Proactive and Reactive Components to the System
    • 5.6. A Local Response to a Local Situation?
    • 5.7. Dissemination of Strategy, Policy and Standards to Regional Offices
    • 5.8. Interface between Individual Strategies, Policies and Standards
    • 5.9. ‘Greenfield’ v. ‘Brownfield’ Standards
    • 5.10. Network Boundaries and the Extent of Infrastructure to be Maintained
    • 5.11. Marginal Defects
    • 5.12. Considering All Road User Groups and ‘Promote and Maintain’
    • 5.13. Stakeholder Consultation and Expectation
    • 5.14. Disaster Recovery and Reduced Levels of Service
  • 6. Programs of Work and Service Delivery
    • 6.1. Consistently Following Documented Strategies, Policies, Standards and Procedures
    • 6.2. Objectively Determined and Prioritised Programs of Work
    • 6.3. Understanding the Implications of Acting and Not Acting
    • 6.4. The Importance of Timely Action
    • 6.5. ‘Right First Time’ – Logical, Effective Actions
    • 6.6. Innovation
    • 6.7. The Vital Importance of Inspection Systems
    • 6.8. Providing Officers with the Necessary Tools and Training
    • 6.9. Warning Signage
    • 6.10. Redundant Street Furniture
    • 6.11. ‘The Right Stuff’ – Informed Material Choices
    • 6.12. The Hazards Associated with Loose Aggregate on Road Surfaces
    • 6.13. The Adverse Impact of Works by Utility Companies
    • 6.14. Internal Communication
    • 6.15. Reacting to Local Incident Clusters
  • 7. Monitoring, Review and Continuous Improvement
    • 7.1. Learning from Past Incidents and their Outcomes
    • 7.2. Risk Registers
    • 7.3. Monitoring of Case Law
    • 7.4. Key Performance Indicators
    • 7.5. Monitoring Trends in Complaints and Requests for Service
  • 8. Support Systems and Relationships
    • 8.1. Record Keeping
    • 8.2. Time is of the Essence
    • 8.3. The Need for Effective Control of Technical Documents
    • 8.4. The Working Relationship with Local Legal Representatives
    • 8.5. The Working Relationship with Police Incident Investigators
    • 8.6. The Working Relationship with Contractors
  • 9. Asset management and the Safe System framework
    • 9.1. Introduction
    • 9.2. The Safe System and Asset Management
    • 9.3. Discussion and Possible Legal Implications
  • 10. Conclusions
  • References
  • Appendix A A brief introduction to highways-related civil claims
  • A.1 Why do Claims Occur?
  • A.2 The Common Law, the Civil Law and the Assessment of Claims
  • A.3 Why are Highway Claims so Significant?
  • A.3.1 A Dissatisfied Customer
  • A.3.2 A Drain on Resources
  • A.3.3 A Significant Test of Asset Management Systems and Communications
  • Appendix B A brief history of road authority civil claims
  • B.1 Position Prior to 31 May 2001
  • B.2 The High Court Judgements in Brodie and Ghantous
  • B.3 After Brodie and Ghantous (May 2001 to date)
  • B.3.1 Contractors and ‘Actual Knowledge’
  • B.3.2 Victorian Road Management Act 2004 (Amended 1 January 2010)
  • B.3.3 Summary
  • B.4 The Future?
  • Appendix C GLOSSARY