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Report on better estate management in local government

27 January 2011

Local government can manage its property more effectively, save money and carbon, improve services, reduce space by up to 30 percent, and saving a further £190 per sq m per year, according to a report out next week

Next week Eric Pickles MP will launch a report detailing how local government can save money, carbon and improve services through managing their property assets efficiently, sustainably and in partnership with other service providers. The report, "Leaner and Greener: Delivering Effective Estate Management" was produced by WSBF*, and sponsored by Colliers International, Consensus Business Group (GBG) and Interserve, and will be launched on 2nd February.
Produced as part of an inquiry by the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum*, chaired by Matthew Hancock MP, the report has cross-party support and backing from the public and private sectors.  Matthew Hancock MP said:"Local Government owns huge amounts of our towns and cities. Everywhere we looked we found poor use of that property, costing money and adding to carbon emissions. What we found surprising, is that where improvements have been made, the people working there told us that they had not just saved cost and saved carbon, but also improved services as a result. This report looks at case studies where bold changes have been made, and assesses how much can be saved from improving use of the buildings that surround us."
The purpose of the inquiry was to investigate how the public sector could improve the sustainability of its estate management. The inquiry’s recommendations suggest that if local authorities streamline office space use, sharing with other service providers and local authorities, they can reduce their space requirements by up to 30 percent. Moreover, for the space that remains in use, local authorities can save a further £190 per sq m per year by following a suite of sustainability measures.
Case studies where these management methods have already been put into practice are cited throughout the report, including Birmingham City Council which plans to reduce its core office portfolio from 55 to 8 buildings, cutting space used by 40 percent while delivering over £100m in savings.
Stephen Hughes, Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council said: "Working in this manner has been a success story for us; in these times of fiscal austerity, I would urge other local authorities to try the same methods".
*The Westminster Sustainable Business Forum (WSBF) is an independent, cross-party and not-for-profit coalition of key UK businesses, government agencies and parliamentarians, which seeks to promote effective sustainability policy in the UK. For more information, see
http://www.policyconnect.org.uk/wsbf For more information email: rosie.shute@policyconnect.org.uk.


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