Government property is a brilliant place to work on the biggest, most diverse property portfolio in the UK.
It is our job to make sure the 300,000 public buildings across the UK support delivery of the best possible public services. And with public service reform accelerated by the pandemic, there has never been a more exciting time to work in government property.
Property is increasingly being recognised as an enabler of prosperity and a lever to create jobs and economic growth, particularly as we deliver the government’s infrastructure and net zero ambitions, helping to kickstart the economy following the pandemic.
Government property professionals work across the entire development lifecycle, from strategy, acquisition and new-builds to refurbishment, facilities and disposals. Our people are members of more than 20 professional institutions including RICS, RTPI and RIBA.
Making sure these people – a 5,000-plus strong network of property professionals – have the capabilities and skills to deliver on this is at the top of our agenda.
Our professionals make daily decisions that have a huge impact on citizens through the location, design and management of the built environment and public realm. This is why it is so important we develop a workforce as diverse as the communities we serve. While we still have work to do,
I am proud of the progress we have made and strongly believe that the government property profession is at the forefront of a more inclusive property workforce.
One initiative that has been a huge success is our shadow board. This provides a group of property colleagues of mixed seniority, location, gender and ethnicity with access to our senior decision-making board and a mutual mentor scheme.
Property is at the forefront of government priorities, including major infrastructure investments such as 40 new hospitals and around 20 new regional government office hubs. We are working to make sure these new facilities are built to modern, net zero standards, applying best-practice construction standards to deliver longer-term value for money and carbon reduction.
We have got to make sure our people are well placed to deliver the transformation we will need for a modern public estate.
This means understanding whole-life asset management and making every property decision with sustainability considerations front and centre.
It means a relentless focus on asset management strategy and releasing property that is no longer needed. Disposing of government property and land can help local economic growth, release land for housing, reduce running costs and create the local prosperity we need as we recover from the pandemic.
One of our biggest priorities is to boost carbon literacy within the government property profession and deliver a learning and development programme for the thousands of property professionals working on property in government.
Government property is also one of the biggest employers of apprentices in the industry. More than 150 people working in government property are currently working towards apprentice qualifications in surveying and FM. We have launched a property fast-stream for high-potential graduates to join this award-winning Civil Service graduate scheme. This attracts graduates from all over the UK with an interest in property and we welcome applications from candidates with a good degree and a passion to work for a better and more sustainable public estate.
We have also recently launched a property leadership programme in partnership with Henley Business School. This will give our leaders the space to develop their skills in practical sessions and real-life examples of some of our biggest leadership challenges including net zero, digital and proptech, as well as the use of place and space following Covid-19.
We are committed, through these programmes and others besides, to ensuring that government property is fully equipped to meet the challenge of delivering a carbon-neutral future.
This is what makes government property such an exciting place to be at the moment and a great place to build a career in property.
Dr Janet Young is government chief property officer