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OGC promotes use of the PAM capability model in Whitehall

28 January 2009

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has launched a campaign to encourage the use of a new self-assessment tool for Whitehall property managers which aims to raise asset management standards across the civil estate.

The drive is part of the Government’s plans to improve strategic property asset management in central government to achieve up to £1.5bn in efficiency savings annually by 2013, and meet sustainability targets. The Property Asset Management Capability Assessment Model (PAMCAM) aims to support business cases for the investment in strengthening capability, whilst increasing visibility of continuous improvement within an organisation. The tool, jointly developed by the OGC and the National Audit Office (NAO) in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, is an electronic, evidence-based questionnaire that identifies shortfalls in an organisation’s current property asset management practices.

Announcing the drive to take up PAMCAM, OGC’s Chief Executive Nigel Smith said: “Property and estate managers across Whitehall and the wider public sector have a duty to ensure they are conducting their operations in the most sustainable, efficient and cost effective way, to ensure better value for money for the taxpayer and better results for the environment. PAMCAM offers those managers a great opportunity to assess their current practices in an easy way, and paints a clear picture of where improvements can be made. Widespread use of the system will also allow OGC to assess the current progress of the total estate in achieving efficiency targets, and allow us to provide more targeted support and guidance.”

Tim Burr, head of the National Audit Office said: "The recent National Audit Office report on central government office property found that much more could be done to improve value for money in this area. This new NAO/OGC tool builds on that report and offers central government and other bodies practical help in improving the use of their estates."

So far, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Defence, the British Council and Department for Transport have all piloted PAMCAM. The OGC is looking to ensure widespread use of the system amongst all departments and sponsored bodies that have substantial property portfolios by the end of March 2009. Take up of PAMCAM will be monitored by OGC as part of the High Performing Property (HPP) strategy. The tool will also be used by the NAO to audit asset management practice within central government.

Speaking about the tool, DWP’s Property Strategy Manager Alan Wickert said: "As part of the ongoing strategic management of our property portfolio, DWP has piloted PAMCAM and the outputs from this pilot has helped DWP further validate and confirm the strengths of our current asset management arrangements, as well as also identify some areas that may benefit from general process improvement and additional data analysis."

The information gathered as part of the PAMCAM assessments will be used by OGC to report on the progress of milestones for delivering the HPP agenda in the civil estate assessment report State of the Estate, which will be laid before Parliament by the 1st June. Specific departmental data will be used by the departments for their internal information to assess their ongoing improvement performance.

For more information about PAMCAM visit

The OGC and NAO commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP to develop PAMCAM in 2008. By undertaking self-assessment using the PAM Capability Model, users will be provided with the ‘gap’ between their current arrangements and leading practice which brings a range of benefits including:

The basis on which to highlight to senior managers structural constraints to improvement e.g. governance, resources; The information on which to identify improvement opportunities; and The evidence to support building a business case for investing in strengthened capabilities. The tool will also increase visibility of continuous improvement within an organisation, across a departmental family and cross central civil government. The experience of the pilots is that Department leads should initially allow approximately 1.5-2 days to complete the self-assessment tool.

High Performing Property Strategy was launched on 9th November 2006. It sets out the framework and direction for improving strategic property asset management in central government over a defined period with key actions, milestones and objectives. High Performing Property, is underpinned by an implementation plan that when fully implemented will realise savings of between £1 billion and £1.5 billion a year by 2013. Outcomes and benefits will be:
..A rationalised 'fit for purpose' government estate;
..Property Asset Management (PAM) positioned as a strategic arm of business delivery;
..Hard edged performance data driving continuous improvement;
..Improved stewardship and accountability;
..20% annual efficiency savings driven out of the estate.

As part of the Climate Change Act 2008, the Treasury will report on the progress made by Departments towards reducing the size, improving the efficiency and the contribution to sustainability of buildings on the Civil Estate. In addition, where any building procured within the year falls outside the top-quartile of energy performance, the government will include in the report an explanation for this. The first report is expected mid-year and will cover progress made during the 2008 calendar year.

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