Keeping track of around 650 conditions across 60 resource consents is a major task for any organisation. When three-quarters of the conditions require actions on a regular basis to demonstrate compliance to a regulatory authority, and a number of people need access to information, it’s a task which needs a made-for-the-job system.
That was the issue facing the Perry Group, one of the largest and most successful privately owned enterprises in the Waikato with interests in sand mining, quarrying, waste solutions and remediation, compost and fertilisers, metal protection, lime resource and property development on a nation-wide level.
Group Manager – Business Development Andrew White says the problems Perry Group had in managing multiple consent requirements were typical of the industry. “Under the Resource Management Act there are so many more obligations placed on consent holders these days.” says White.
The ability to demonstrate consent compliance and manage information for an ever-increasing volume of consents is becoming critical for many organisations. White states that the complexity of keeping track of the actions required to comply with multiple consents is a major issue. “The conditions you have to abide by when you apply for or seek a renewal of a consent, and the amount of evidence you have to produce, make it a real challenge. In our case we’ve got about 60 consents for sites spread all over the country, and about 650 conditions. Well over three-quarters of those conditions require actions on a regular basis.
“A typical condition may be simply that you aren’t allowed to have any water enter a river or a tributary from your site … You’ve got to monitor to make sure you have in place systems and recording technologies to deal with that. You need to identify when there’s been a breach of the condition and also the actions you’re taking to prevent further breaches.”
White then goes on to say “If you’re operating a landfill for instance, there’ll be a whole lot of issues to deal with – odour, how often you have seagulls on your site, how often you put cover over the top of the rubbish, how many truck movements a day compared with how many you’re permitted.”
“If you’ve got a system to monitor your consents, you should be able to mitigate most of the issues that arise through the management of a site. However, no matter what you do, it’s still open to interpretation.”
Until recently, Perry Group relied on the knowledge of key executives and a paper based filing system to keep on top of all its consent conditions. It has now opted for the CS-VUE system used by several large local bodies to manage compliance with consents issued by regional councils.
If external consultants or contractors need access to information in hard-copy or internal systems, it has to be retrieved, copied, and sent by fax or post. For CS-VUE users, the equivalent is simply setting up the consulting firm as another user, with access to the details they need.
The system operates with a ‘one version of the truth’ philosophy (OVT) – everyone looks at the same information, which only specific users have rights to modify. Every interaction with the system is recorded, providing an auditable and transparent digital paper trail along with comprehensive reports and a dashboard.
Since the system was implemented at Perry Group, the company has made a practice of including details of how it uses CS-VUE in responses to local body Requests For Proposals.
“We do know that local bodies themselves are sensitive to the issue of how well consent compliance is managed,” he says. “It obviously is not doing us any harm to show that we’ve got a handle on this.”
Andrew White, Group Manager – Business Development Perry Group
We’re setting the benchmark…and this software is very much a part of that benchmark. It adds incredible data management because we were talking about legal activities here – potentially illegal activities if you’re not doing your job right.”