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HM Treasury's Operational Efficiency Programme - final report

06 May 2009

Among the key recommentations is that government should create a new central property function to drive efficient use of property across the whole of the public sector and, where necessary, draw on private sector expertise.

The report published last month covers Back office operations and IT, Collaborative procurement, Asset management and sales, Property, and Local incentives and empowerment. More information about the report: read more

In the Property section the recommendations are in brief:
1. The Government should create a new central property function to drive efficient use of property across the whole of the public sector. It would be a small strategic resource, which would work closely with HM Treasury teams as well as with organisations across the public sector and, where necessary, draw on private sector expertise. Its main roles would be to provide:
• a strategic overview of rationalisation and disposal;
• property standards and advice; and
• coordination and oversight of property performance.

2. In producing new departmental spending plans, HM Treasury should take steps to ensure that departments make choices in their capital investment plans which deliver a rationalised and more efficient estate. The new central property function would assist HM Treasury teams in this process.

3. The public sector should be more consistent and transparent in the data it collects and publishes in relation to property management and usage. In particular, organisations are encouraged to publish information about the core, surplus, and intermediate property assets held. All local public services should also be encouraged to follow best practice and use the audit agencies’ value for money indicators, which should be closely linked to the Audit Commission’s ‘use of resources’ assessment.

4 HM Treasury and Communities and Local Government should together investigate whether a depreciation mechanism for local authorities and other local delivery bodies would be workable, considering in particular the advantages and disadvantages of a depreciation charge and any potential impact on the public finances.

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