APWA accreditation

Neil Nyberg
Chair, Accreditation Council

Public Works agencies interested in continuous improvement have a powerful tool in the form of the APWA self-assessment process. Self-assessment allows an organization to compare its policies and procedures with nationally recognized management practices assembled and validated by APWA over the last fourteen years. Accreditation is a public recognition of an agency which, having completed self-assessment, decides to demonstrate compliance with APWA recommended practices via a site visit and evaluation.

Self-evaluation and accreditation continue to gain momentum following the third and latest edition of the APWA Public Works Management Practices Manual, published in August 1998. Sales of the Management Practices Manual totaled 304 in 1999.

Self-assessment software was purchased by 137 agencies, and 88 editions of the process manual were sold. Self-assessment workshops were held at Monterey (March 1999) and Denver (September 1999). A “user group” focused on the new practices manual at the Denver 1999 Annual Conference.

At present, 12 public works agencies are carrying out self-assessments. Some agencies may apply for an accreditation site visit. There is a healthy consultation among candidate agencies and the three currently accredited sites. As site visits accumulate, effective methods of record management, practice presentation, and site review techniques are identified and communicated to agencies “in the pipeline.”

The current forecast is for three site accreditation visits in 2000, with two current re-accreditation visits planned.

The Accreditation Council has examined graphic recognition symbols (logos) for accredited agencies and has reviewed the availability and training requirements for site evaluators. Two regional workshops have been conducted at San Diego, CA (March 7) and Wenatchee, WA (April 18), with three others scheduled at Charlotte, NC (June 4); Louisville, KY (pre?Congress, September 9); and Worcester, MA (October 17).

For more information, contact Neil Nyberg at nnyberg@city.coquitlam.bc.ca, or access APWA’s self-assessment web site at www.apwa.net/education/edu-3201.htm.