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Government estate opts for better property performance

25 June 2007

Whitehall comes together to transform the Government Estate

Whitehall departments accounting for over 90% of the Government's office estate have agreed how to deliver Government's High Performing Property initiative. At their first meeting on 25 May, the Board level champions - mainly Director-General level responsible for property portfolios - decided the key actions needed to implement a transformation programme that will have the most fundamental impact ever for the Government estate.

High Performing Property is a major change programme which seeks to deliver the following benefits:

* A rationalised and fit for purpose Government estate that is better aligned to deliver a more efficient service to the citizen

* Annual savings of between £1 billion and £1.5 billion by 2013 from an estate that costs £6 billion a year to run

* Resources released to the front line, equivalent to building 50 new schools or 10 new hospitals a year

* A more demanding and intelligent Government client that will require accommodation solutions that provide greater flexibility and adaptability

The action plan agreed by the champions at the meeting included:
* cross Government collaboration and data sharing on the way that Government occupied buildings are managed and used in order to realise the transformation programme;

* The collection and maintenance of robust data on a building by building basis to achieve quality decisions on the management and use of their estates and those of their agencies and sponsored bodies;

* A focus on improving space utilisation as a key source of significant efficiency gains, recognising that this has considerably wider implications than just property usage;

* The use of the Office of Government Commerce's cross Government property database (e-PIMS) as the primary platform for information on individual holdings on the estate, and for performance measurement and benchmarking. Use of the OGC's Property Benchmarking Service has now been mandated to all departments, agencies and sponsored bodies.

* The avaliability of of this data for interrogation across Government;

* The core principles of the role of the champion as the focal point within a department and its agencies and sponsored bodies for implementing High Performing Property and for providing strategic direction on the management and use of those estates.

High Performing Property was launched by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury last November. It is a five year strategy and implementation plan for improving the management and use of the Governement's office estate which OGC is tasked with overseeing. The programme is integral to the changes set out in the Government strategy for OGC, Transforming Government Procurement and to OGC's new role and remit

The plan implements the call by Sir Michael Lyons in his December 2004 report Towards Better Management of Public Sector Assets for a stronger focus on the efficient management of Government's retained assets and stronger portfolio management, particularly of the London estate. Commenting on this Sir Michael Lyons said:

"I am very encouraged with the progress being made by the OGC to deliver stronger central management of the Government civil estate. Improved management and use of property assets by Departments and their agencies and sponsored bodies offers the opportunity to realise significant savings, service improvements and better working conditions . The High Performing Property implementation plan sets out very clearly how this will be achieved and is a strong framework for the direction that Government needs to take."

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