The Office for Government Commerce (OGC) said it would seek to save between £1bn and £1.5bn in the cost of the running the civil estate by 2013 and relocate 20,000 jobs out of London and the South East by 2010.
In its annual statement – Working together to deliver better value – published today it outlines its forward strategy to 2010/11 and said it would continue to implement its ‘high performing property’ strategy and manage its estate more strategically as a corporate asset.
The OGC said that as part of the strategy 14 departments, together accounting for 95% of the government office estate, had appointed ‘property champions’ to institute money savings. It has also set up ‘Property Asset Management Boards’, chaired by the champions to ensure that government’s property decisions are fully integrated with business planning.
A property benchmarking service which will rate government properties against industry best practice has been mandatory for buildings of more than 5,400 sq ft since April. The OGC has examined 671 buildings, or a quarter of the government estate, under this benchmarking practice and FOUND WHAT.
In addition, the OGC had set up an electronic property information mapping service, known as e-PIMS - to allow easier planning and coordination of the use of offices and 145 organisations estates data is being managed by this service. The OGC said 100% of all government office data was now included in the e-PIMS service and 90% of all non-office space, such as specialist buildings and land.
E-PIMS will also be used to monitor the civil estate’s compliance with the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive which came into effect in October. As part of the service there is also a ‘property interrogator’ tool that allows departments to compare their performance.
Large-scale government relocation from the southeast to regional offices, as outlined in Sir Michael Lyons’ review in 2004, was still a key objective for the government. The OGC said that by December last year 15,700 posts had been relocated and it instituted ‘property controls’ in London and the South East which will require departments to ‘justify the need to remain in these areas every time a lease break or expiry occurs or there is a new acquisition’.
It said relocations so far have taken £67m off the Government’s London office rent fill and released around 4m sq ft of space.
Sustainability of the civil estate is also high on the agenda and the OGC will work with the government to reduce carbon emissions from office by 12.5% by 2011 and by 30% by 2020.
The ‘high performing property’ strategy is a seven year programme that the OGC will implement alongside the Government’s operational efficiency programme launched in July this year by Treasury Secretary Yvette Cooper MP.