Home' ALGY : ALGY Edition 24 2017 Contents 244 • THE AUSTRALIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT YEARBOOK EDITION 24
To ensure that data was only accessed by the relevant
authorised staff, a system administrator from the fleet
department was assigned the role of managing user set-up
and access levels, as well as procuring and coordinating the
installation of GPS units in vehicles. The system administrator
also became the primary contact for system-related issues.
Figure 1 shows the security levels currently set up at Lake
Macquarie City Council.
From experience, we know that collecting GPS data and
establishing security access to view the data is only part of
the equation. The question of how the data is used requires
articulation in a policy/procedure document that sets
boundaries and expectations for all parties. Despite best efforts
to have the framework correct in the first instance, situations
arise exposing grey areas in the procedure that can be open
for interpretation. The policy/procedure needs to be a living
document that is subject to periodic review, with the aim of
providing clarity to emerging situations. To maintain its integrity,
changes to the document should be conducted in consultation
with all stakeholders.
Learning and adapting along the way
In the pre-GPS world, an organisation could not be expected
to manage what it did not reasonably know or control. Legally,
there was some degree of defence based on the notion of
reasonableness. GPS technology is a game changer, because
intelligence that previously wasn't available is now at your
fingertips. GPS technology not only tracks speed -- it can also
identify harsh braking and excessive vehicle roll (caused by
cornering too fast), and failing to act on that intelligence to
mitigate risks is not a defence. This is the elephant in the room.
Should a witness complaint be received about an employee
speeding in a company vehicle and the GPS data validates the
complaint, this is a straightforward matter to deal with; however,
assume for a moment that no complaints have been received,
but at some time in the future, the employee is involved in a
speed-related incident and you have a GPS-recorded history of
over-speed data for this employee over a long period.
The key message in this example is that using GPS data
purely as a reactive tool to manage complaints may not be
enough in the eyes of the law. In court, the question could be
asked: did you know that the driver had a poor driving record,
and what steps were taken to manage it prior to the incident?
This example highlights that GPS technology captures data,
but it requires intervention to leverage the data effectively for
the intended purposes, so you need to be prepared to resource
the back-office effort to respond to deficiencies in performance.
GPS technology is not a set-and-forget resource.
GPS use is not just about identifying the negatives; it can also
be used to recognise the positives. Celebrating and promoting
positive driver/operator behaviours builds a good culture and
keeps the momentum. If it's all negative, then staff commitment
and workplace culture suffers.
So, what does this mean for the average council?
• Understand what it is you are trying to achieve (this
influences your level of investment with GPS technology).
• Have stakeholder involvement as early as possible (this helps
to develop trust).
• Establish a transparent framework through a policy/
procedure about how GPS information is going to be used
(this helps to develop understanding among stakeholders).
• Rather than take on your entire fleet, consider selecting a
sample group before deciding to apply it across the board
(this helps to develop a better understanding of how best to
manage the data with available resources).
• If your GPS needs to expand across multiple responsibility
areas, consider appointing a responsible officer for
establishing and maintaining security data access levels,
along with procurement, installation and ongoing transfer
of hardware between vehicles (this helps to develop
consistency and security).
• Allocate adequate resources to make the GPS investment
work, otherwise you are merely collecting data (this helps to
leverage technology benefits).
Remember the five Ps -- prior preparation prevents poor
GPS technology enables users to have power through
information; however, that power level is ultimately dictated by
the organisation's efforts to make the most of the information.
Figure 1. Security access levels
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