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Government estate reducing

22 April 2010

The State of the Estate 2009 report reveals a huge annual reduction in the size of the civil estate and significant efficiency savings

This State of the Estate 2009 report published last month demonstrates the achievements made over the last year to reduce the costs and environmental impact of the Government’s estate. The size of the estate has been reduced by over 660,000sq m or the equivalent of over 150 football pitches.
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) report The State of the Estate highlights the achievements made in efficiency savings over the year. It also details Departments’ progress on sustainability, and on meeting the expected annual efficiency savings from the estate of up to £1.5bn by 2013.
Speaking about the publication Ian Pearson said “The Government is serious about effectively managing the civil estate. This State of the Estate Report 2009 is significant as it charts the progress that has been made in reducing the size of the civil estate and the savings for the taxpayer. The real cost of running the estate, taking account of inflation, is estimated to have fallen by 17 percent, equivalent to a reduction of approximately £740m since 2003/04. The Government estate is also now performing better than the private sector in a number of key areas.”
He continued: “The scale and complexity of our challenge is huge because of the size of the estate, nevertheless the achievements made over the last year to reduce the costs are remarkable. When combined with delivering long term environmental impact benefits, it is clear that this Government is on course to meet the challenging goals it has set itself.”
Data shows only 2.2 percent of office space has currently been identified as vacant, a figure that is six times better than the national average for the private sector, and  building costs per square metre are on average 18 percent better than private sector benchmarks.
The report also identifies areas for improvement, for example in meeting workspace benchmarks in the many buildings on the estate, where age, historical significance, or configuration pose potential barriers. Despite this, significant progress is reported in the reduction in average workspace use which at 13.1 sq m per person has come down by 10 per cent per person since last year and is now comparable to average private sector use.
On carbon emission reduction, the Government is making good progress but recognises that there is still more to do in 2010/11 to improve the Display Energy Certificate (DEC) ratings of buildings on the government estate.
William Jordan, the government’s Chief Sustainability Officer based in the OGC said: "Real improvements have been made this year to the efficiency and the sustainability of the Government's central civil estate. I am very grateful to all those who have helped realise these improvements. Next year, we will be working hard in OGC to improve further the quality of the data we hold for Government, which is the absolute foundation of all our work to improve the estate. We will push on next year towards the achievements of the new benchmarks for space occupancy set in Smarter Government, and the Government's longer term goals for the energy efficiency of the estate.”
Civil Estate Facts

+50 percent of holdings are 500 sq m or less
3 percent of holdings are +10,000 sq m
Overall size of estate reduced by 5.8 percent in 2009
Number of holdings fell by 9 percent to 7,213 in 2009
Running Costs 2008/9
£3.55bn total running costs
Since 2003/4 (the start of the High Performing Propertyprogramme) the real cost of the estates taking into account inflation has fallen by about £740m.
25 percent of total office space is in London and accounts for
41 percent of total annual running costs
Cost per sq m
Average cost of office space is £319 sq m – 18 percent less than private sector average
London office space averages £625 sq m

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