Regional office property market benefits from growth in office based employment

Regional office property market benefits from growth in office based employment

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GPU New Waverley offices in EdinburghStrong demand and a lack of supply is helping to boast the regional office rental market, according to Savills’ latest Regional Offices Market Watch. The firm anticipates that take-up will reach 9.8 million sq ft (910,450 sq m) by the end of 2017, a 4 percent increase on 2016 and 9 percent up on the 10 year average. This is due to a number of large Government Property Unit (GPU) deals completing in the second half of the year. As a result of strong demand, total availability across the UK fell by 1 percent to 30 million sq ft (2.787 million sq m) in the first half of the year, which equates to just 1.8 years worth of available Grade A supply. What’s more, Savills notes that office based employment across the regional cities is forecast to grow by up to 4.6 percent over the next five years, leading to a net additional 55,000 jobs, representing a need for a further 5 million sq ft (464,616 sq m) of office space.

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Leeds latest city to announce major new Government Hub

Leeds latest city to announce major new Government Hub

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New property scheme launched to cut the cost of empty space in NHS buildings

New property scheme launched to cut the cost of empty space in NHS buildings

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New property scheme launched to cut the cost of empty space in NHS buildingsA new scheme to help the NHS cut the costs of empty space in their buildings has been launched this week by NHS Property Services (NHSPS). Properties that qualify for the scheme must be deemed surplus to NHS requirements and may be re-let, disposed of or considered as a development opportunity. The new Vacant Space Handback Scheme comes in response to feedback from commissioners who want to reduce the cost of maintaining space that is no longer needed for clinical services.  The cost of maintaining vacant space is kept as low as possible, though some costs are unavoidable where rent, business rates and some service charges remain payable. The total amount and cost of maintaining vacant space in the NHS is difficult to calculate, but costs are estimated to be in excess of £10 million a year on the NHS Property Services estate.

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Certain staff a ‘major block’ to adoption of new technology in local government

Certain staff a ‘major block’ to adoption of new technology in local government

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Some individuals within local government are holding back tech to preserve the status quo – a new survey suggests. According to the research, these people feel threatened by new technology and believe it will be disruptive to their ways of working. While the survey by 8×8 of staff working in local government suggested a significant appetite for new technology, more than a fifth (22 percent) say certain individuals are holding back tech adoption to preserve the status quo. This view is more prevalent amongst those in IT procurement, where more than a third (35 percent) believe colleagues are standing in the way of technology because it will disrupt what they already have in place. Only 51 percent of respondents believe senior management understand the importance of new technology and just 21 percent think they invest enough money to stay up to date with the latest developments. This contrasts with the private sector, where over half (56 percent) believe there is sufficient investment in new technology.

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Tax reforms forcing contractors out of public sector work, claims report

Tax reforms forcing contractors out of public sector work, claims report

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New research from CW Jobs claims that the public sector is seeing an exodus of IT contractors following the introduction of the IR35 tax reforms. The changes mean IT contractors in the public sector are now taxed like employees. It came into effect in April this year and has meant contractors are losing up to a quarter of their previous take home pay. A significant 71 percent of the IT contractors surveyed said their income had reduced because of IR35. Nearly a third (29 percent) of those have seen an 11-20 percent reduction in income, while more than a quarter (27 percent) have seen a 21-30 percent reduction. The changes have prompted many IT contractors to make the switch from public to private sector.  Nearly half of the 1,000 IT candidates surveyed (47 percent) say IR35 has caused IT contractors to leave the public sector and over three quarters (83 percent) said the private sector is now the most attractive to work in.

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UK government publishes update on physical and digital infrastructure spending

UK government publishes update on physical and digital infrastructure spending

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The UK Government’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) has published its 2016 to 17 annual report on major projects, reporting 143 major projects on the Government’s Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP), worth £455.5 billion and spread across 17 government departments. The report is in support of the IPA’s ongoing purpose ‘to improve the way infrastructure and major projects are delivered and the government’s commitment to transparency and delivering public services effectively and efficiently’. Projects currently on the GMPP reflect the government’s priorities; ‘making our infrastructure fit for the 21st Century, maintaining the security of the realm and modernising and digitising our public services’. The spending also updates progress on spending on faster broadband and connectivity as the UK continues to play catch up on digital infrastructure.

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Lack of digital adoption is the greatest social challenge we face, claims new report

Lack of digital adoption is the greatest social challenge we face, claims new report 0

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More than 50 percent of organisations claim existing processes are preventing digital adoption, claims a new report from Agilisys, a tech firm focussed on projects in the public sector.  The ‘State of the Digital Nation’ draws on findings from a survey of over 400 individuals from private and public sector organisations, who shared the progress they are making on their ‘digital transformation journeys’. The report, based on the key findings of a survey conducted by online publication Digital by Default News, considers the role of digital inclusion in the adoption of digital public services. The survey revealed that 40 percent of respondents had a clear digital vision and were already well on their way to realising the benefits. The majority (65 percent) of those surveyed considered digital one of their top organisational priorities.

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Workplace mental health support worse for public sector than private sector workers

Workplace mental health support worse for public sector than private sector workers 0

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Workplace wellbeing support is worse in the public sector than in the private sector, according to a major survey by the mental health charity Mind. The survey of over 12,000 employees across the public and private sectors found there is a higher prevalence of mental health problems in the public sector, as well as a lack of support available when people do speak up. Of those with a mental health problem, 90 percent of public sector staff disclosed it to their employer, compared with 80 percent in the private sector. When taking time off for mental health reasons, 69 percent of public sector workers were honest about the reason for needing time off, compared with 59 percent of private sector staff. 38 percent of public sector employees said the workplace cultured allowed staff to be open about mental health problems, compared with 29 percent in the private sector.

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Senior public sector managers feel more able to enjoy flexible working

Senior public sector managers feel more able to enjoy flexible working 0

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A growing number of senior managers in the UK public sector feel they are able to enjoy flexible working, although workloads remain a constraining factor, claims a new study by the FDA Union which represents senior civil servants. The study found that nearly all public sector bodies now offer some form of flexible working, but uptake is held back by job pressures.  More than one in six managers now say they are able to work flexibly, according to a survey by the FDA union, a figure which has risen markedly over the last year. Nearly all respondents (95 percent) said their employer had flexible working policies in place, a slight increase from the previous year’s survey, when 93 percent of respondents said such policies were in place.

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Pay levels are falling but job market remains robust, despite Brexit relocation plans

Pay levels are falling but job market remains robust, despite Brexit relocation plans 0

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The UK economy is about to be hit by a fall in basic pay awards and real wages warns the CIPD, which has found that employers’ median basic pay expectations in the 12 months to March 2018 have fallen to 1 percent compared to 1.5 percent three months ago, which is lower than at any time during the past three and a half years. The findings from the latest CIPD/The Adecco Group Labour Market Outlook survey are consistent with recent Labour Market Outlook reports, which have indicated a slowing in the rate of basic pay growth, and with official labour market data. The report also found that 12 percent of private sector firms say the UK’s decision to leave the European Union has led them to consider relocating some or all of their business operations abroad. Popular relocation destinations include the Republic of Ireland (18 percent), Germany (17 percent) and France (13 percent).

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Fresh concerns raised about council investments in commercial property market

Fresh concerns raised about council investments in commercial property market 0

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As we reported last month, the level of investment in commercial property undertaken by UK local authorities is raising serious concerns within both central government and the real estate sector. Now, a fresh warning has been issued by the former business secretary Sir Vince Cable that councils face potential bankruptcy if the property bubble bursts. In recent years councils have faced an average 37 percent real term cut in government funding and so have taken to borrowing large sums at low interest rates from the Treasury’s Public Works Loan Board to reinvest in commercial property ventures. The move has already been identified as risky by the Government’sown Public Accounts Committee and Cable joins a chorus of voices in expressing doubts.

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Proactive approach needed to improve accessibility within the built environment

Proactive approach needed to improve accessibility within the built environment 0

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Proactive approach needed to improve accessibility within the built environment

Inaccessible workplaces are too common problem that disabled people face in accessing buildings and public spaces, and the Government must lead a charge in improving access and inclusion in the built environment, according to a report by an influential cross party committee published today. The Women and Equalities Committee’s Disability and the Built Environment inquiry has been examining the extent to which those with accessibility issues are considered and accommodated in our built environment, and whether more could be done to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of both new and existing properties and spaces. The report recommends public procurement, fiscal initiatives and transparently modelling best practice, while bringing the full range of work on improving access and inclusion in the built environment into a coherent and transparent strategy, with the Department for Communities and Local Government held responsible for making this happen. The report found that many workplaces are inaccessible, there is very little choice of where to live and the public spaces through which people need to move can be prohibitively excluding; all of which constitute an unacceptable diminution of quality of life and equality.

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