October 12, 2016
The UK Government has announced that it is to further extend its groundbreaking One Public Sector Estate scheme which supports local authorities and public sector bodies in the sharing and divestment of underutilised property. The Cabinet Office and Local Government Association have issued a joint announcement that 159 councils will join the next phase of the One Public Estate programme and that £7.5 million has been awarded to 37 partnerships made up of councils and public sector bodies. The funding will support cross public sector partnerships to work collaboratively on land and property initiatives leading to new jobs, new homes, joined up public services and savings for the taxpayer. The programme was initially launched in 2013 and has been extended to a number of local authorities and public sector bodies since
October 6, 2016
The UK Government will this week start the latest tendering process for the Estates Professional Services framework. Originally set up in 2008, the framework covers all central and local government property as the administration sets to rationalise and modernise the country’s entire public sector property estate and help to reduce the £8 billion annual spend. The terms of the framework were updated in an August 2016 briefing, laying out a series of case studies highlighting best practice as well as offering guidance t those firms who wish to bid for work across a range of product and service delivery models. The last set of contracts for services are due to expire in March 2017 and the Government remains committed to the inclusion of smaller providers. The framework covers a range of property-related services, including the reduction and divestment of parts of the estate, the renegotiation of leases, a reduction in running costs, support for the government’s sustainability agenda and the facilitation of flexible working and property sharing initiatives.
September 27, 2016
The UK’s major cities are lagging behind their European competitors in terms of skills, innovation and productivity, claims a new report from the Centre for Cities think tank. In Competing with the Continent, the authors argue that the onus is on the UK to come up to speed with the 330 cities covered in the report, especially if they want to compete in the new post Brexit European landscape. However, the report notes that the UK has a number of existing, structural advantages over other countries. UK cities generate around a fifth of Europe’s total economic output and contribute more to the national economy than cities in other countries. Major British cities contribute 60 percent of national GDP, compared to just 36 percent in Germany and 32 percent in Italy. The report shows that UK cities lag behind on a range of indicators including skills, innovation and productivity and a number have an industrial mix that has more in common with cities in Eastern Europe than those in the West.
August 15, 2016
The UK’s decision to leave the EU has resulted in a softening in hiring intentions and businesses should invest in skills immediately, according to the latest CIPD/Adecco Group UK & Ireland Labour Market Outlook. The report is based on employer sentiment in the two weeks before and after the EU Referendum and claims that employers surveyed ahead of the vote were somewhat more optimistic about hiring intentions than those surveyed afterwards. It suggests that the proportion of employers expecting to increase staffing levels over the next three months dropped from 40 percent pre-Brexit to 36 percent following the vote. The net employment balance, based on the difference between the share of employers expanding their workforce and those reducing it, dropped from +21 pre-Brexit to +17 post-Brexit. However, the fall was significantly sharper among private sector employers, with the post-Brexit employment balance declining to +25 from +39.
August 1, 2016
Around one in five employees in the UK are feeling pessimistic about the security of their current job because of the Brexit vote to leave the EU, a new survey by the CIPD claims. Answering a range of questions, including how they felt about the future as a result of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, around 44 percent of the 1,000 working adults who took part felt pessimistic about the future, with this being particularly high amongst public sector workers (61 percent), voluntary sector workers (58 percent) and people aged 25-34 (63 percent). 22 percent said they felt their job was less secure now. The CIPD’s survey also highlighted incidents of harassment and bullying in the workplace relating to the Brexit decision, with more than one in ten employees saying that they have experienced, witnessed or heard of incidents of harassment or bullying of a political nature and just under one in ten (7 percent) referenced incidents of a racist nature (7 percent).
July 15, 2016
In a new report Brexit – The Case for Infrastructure, the Institution of Civil Engineers has set out the business case for the valuable contribution which infrastructure makes to the economy and argues that the UK should not lose sight of this as it begins negotiations for Brexit as it leaves the European Union. The report claims that high quality, high performing infrastructure is vital for economic growth and improved quality of life. It points to transport, communications, energy and housing as being central to spreading opportunity across the whole country. It also makes the case that infrastructure acts as a catalyst for social and economic inclusion, encouraging greater participation in society from people of all walks of life. In particular, during uncertain or volatile economic times, continued investment in UK infrastructure can help provide economic stability, facilitate inward investment and drive economic growth.
July 4, 2016
A new report from Brunel University London claims there needs to be a complete turnaround in the way governments and researchers think about how digital technologies can change the public sector. The report was published to coincide with the 11th National Digital Conference in London. The working paper, which invites feedback from practitioners in the field, explains how the only coherent way to achieve any real impact is to embed the potential of technology in the instruments that make governments’ policies real. Policy instruments are the tools that governments use to drive change in the economy and society and include licences, information campaigns and more tangible things like public services and infrastructure. The paper, entitled; Digital Government: Overcoming the Systemic Failure of Transformation, claims that even the most recent approaches still come from the perspective of technology, not the core policy-making functions of government.
April 19, 2016
A groundbreaking scheme which encourages UK local authorities to reduce the space they occupy, share offices and cut the amount of property they own is to be extended. The Government is inviting new councils to join the One Public Sector Estate scheme which already has more than 100 participants including Derby City Council (pictured). It has allocated an additional £35 million to expand the programme with councils encouraged to apply for a share of funding. The Government hopes all councils will be signed up by 2018. Although the scheme is in its infancy and results are not yet fully known, the most recent 24 partnerships are expected to generate around £138m in property sales and save £56m in running costs over the next five years, as well as free up space for 16,500 new homes. The scheme is jointly delivered by the Local Government Association and the Cabinet Office’s Government Property Unit. Our special report on innovative approaches to public sector property can be found here.
March 31, 2016
Last week, the UK Government passed the latest bill to pave the way for the creation of HS2, the high speed rail line that will initially connect London with Birmingham and later cities like Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds. Most of the criticisms of the line are focussed on its financial and environmental costs, impact on the wider rail network and (frankly poor) design. We can grant the project’s proponents all of their arguments countering those points and still we are left with a perhaps more fundamental problem. We are now committed to creating a train that will monopolise the resources available to public transport for the next twenty years and exist for more than a hundred, but without considering the world in which it will arrive. I’d go further and suggest that even as its tracks are laid, the world around it will already have left it behind, leaving it as an impressive but doomed testament to hubris, old tech and failure of imagination.
February 11, 2016
The government has appointed a new chair to carry on the work of Lord Davies’s Women on Boards Review which was set up in February 2011 to determine the obstacles preventing more women from reaching senior executive positions. The Chair of GlaxoSmithKline, and former Chair of RBS and Sainsbury’s, Sir Philip Hampton, has been appointed to lead the review of representation at FTSE 350 companies. Dame Helen Alexander, Chair of UBM, will take on the role of Deputy Chair to the review. The new review will continue on from Davies’s voluntary business led initiative, which saw female representation on boards in the FTSE 100 rise from 12.5 percent to beyond the target of 25 percent. The next phase of the review will focus on one of the key recommendations from Lord Davies’s report, building a pipeline for female executives and emerging non-executive directors to improve representation at the executive layer of companies.
February 9, 2016
The National Health Service could make around £1bn in savings if it made better use of its estate, including more efficient workplace design, according to Lord Carter’s wide-ranging 18-month review into the operations and productivity of the NHS. The wide ranging review claimed that a total of £5bn could be saved by adopting a range of best practice standards. Carter examined 32 hospitals as well as looking at systems in the US, Germany, Australia, Italy and France for the report. Among the differences highlighted were variations in the use of floorspace, with one trust using 12 percent for non-clinical purposes and another using 69 percent. Overall, the review suggests that the NHS could save £1bn by 2020 via from the better management of estates, such as lighting, heating and the utilisation of floor space. The challenges of running the NHS estate efficiently have been something of an issue for some time, as we have reported.
February 6, 2016
In this week’s Insight newsletter; Gary Chandler envisages how automation will transform society and workplaces; Paul Goodchild explains why office life still attracts people; Mark Eltringham bemoans the narrow focus shown in predictions of the future office and Sara Bean says the HR discipline needs to evolve to support the changing workplace. A new report reveals 88 percent of British workers are regularly stressed at work; employees are increasingly keen to find jobs that offer them flexible working; and men are penalised for opting for a better work/life balance. Government plans to cut the size of its estate by 75 percent by 2023 and an expanding TMT sector increases demand in central London. Download the latest issue of Work&Place and access an Insight Briefing produced in partnership with Connection, which looks at agile working in the public sector. Visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.