UK government to move 5,700 civil servants from Whitehall to east London

UK government to move 5,700 civil servants from Whitehall to east London 0

10-south-colonnade-exterior-wpcf_741x417The UK Cabinet Office has today announced the location of a new Government Hub at Canary Wharf, as the government prepares to move around 5,700 full time civil and public servants from offices in Whitehall to East London. The government will take the whole building, owned by Canary Wharf Group, at 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, covering 50,354 sqm, on a 15 year lease (to end in 2032). The move, which will be completed by the end of 2018, supports the modernisation of the Civil Service outlined by the new Workplace Plan on July 12. The Government Property Unit, (GPU), as part of its remit to drive savings across the government estate, is overseeing the deal with Barclays for the new hub. The Government claims the hubs will benefit the public sector by ensuring the future workforce is where it needs to be, in strategic locations with great public transport connections, local amenities and offering a modern working environment. Relocating civil and public servants from existing, often fragmented office locations, to modern, cross-departmental workplaces will make the most of emerging working practices and technology is part of that drive, it claims.

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Public sector employees ‘stressed’ but remaining optimistic following Brexit

Public sector employees ‘stressed’ but remaining optimistic following Brexit 0

 Public sector employees 'stressed' but remain optimistic following BrexitLevels of stress among public sector workers remain higher than any other sector, despite job satisfaction being at its highest level in four years amidst a tide of wider post-referendum optimism. This is according to the latest CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook report of more than 2,000 employees which found that 63 percent of employees are satisfied with their jobs, rising to two-thirds (66 percent) in the public sector, the highest level for that sector since autumn 2012. However, public sector employees still report higher levels of pressure and exhaustion at work than any other sector. Two in five public sector workers (43 percent) say they are under excessive pressure at work at least once a week (all employees: 38 percent), and nearly half (46 percent) say they come home from work exhausted either always or often (all employees: 33 percent). The survey also suggests there is ample room for improvement in employee development and career progression which employers must address quickly so as not to lose valuable talent.

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Autumn Statement could undermine the growth of London’s tech firms 0

london-tech-firmsChanges in business rates announced in yesterday’s Autumn Statement are likely to hit hardest the areas in the Capital such as Shoreditch and Fitzrovia where innovative tech companies are located, commented Jon Neale, head of UK Research, JLL. “The impact will no doubt undermine government plans to boost tech investment under its ‘Industrial Strategy’ announced earlier this week,” he said. “Meanwhile, office costs are high in London and post Brexit we need to minimise the risk that companies, will see cheaper continental cities such as Berlin as better bet place to set up shop.” He did add however that the promised “£1.3bn to improve roads and ease congestion is welcome and is likely to unlock development sites and promote economic development in many parts of the country. If the UK is to really address the challenges and opportunities of Brexit, investment in infrastructure needs to be more ambitious as well as more focused on an increasingly digital, hi-tech future. Green and smart city technology, new tram and underground networks and truly high-speed broadband would help provide precisely the platform UK business needs.”

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Defence estate to be cut by a third as part of new estate strategy

Defence estate to be cut by a third as part of new estate strategy 0

estate-strategy-frontThe latest part of the UK’s vast public sector estate that is being primed for a large scale sell-off is that of the Ministry of Defence. According to a government statement, 91 sites including more than fifty barracks, naval sites and airfields will be sold under plans to shrink the size of the defence estate by nearly a third. The MoD predicts that the sale will raise around £1 billion and cut running costs by around £140 million per annum, while the rest of the estate will benefit from the investment of around £4 billion to improve housing and facilities for personnel. Perhaps surprisingly the MoD also owns five golf courses which will be sold as part of the shake up announced in the newly published A Better Defence Estate strategy document.

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One in six public sector jobs to be lost to automation, claims report

One in six public sector jobs to be lost to automation, claims report 0

public-sector-automationUp to 861,000 public sector jobs in the UK – around 16 percent of the overall workforce – could be automated by 2030 according to research by Deloitte. The research builds on Deloitte’s work with Oxford University on job automation and is included in the firm’s The State of the State report for 2016-17 – its annual analysis of the state of public finances and the challenges facing public services. Deloitte’s previous work has shown that all sectors of the UK economy will be affected by automation in the next two decades, with 74 percent of jobs in transportation and storage, 59 percent of jobs in wholesale and retail and 56 percent of jobs in manufacturing having a high chance of being automated. The public sector includes higher numbers of roles in areas such as education and caring, as well as jobs requiring public interaction, all of which are at lower risk of automation. However, Deloitte calculates that automation could still lead to a reduction of up to £17 billion in public sector wage costs by 2030.

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Government set to extend groundbreaking One Public Sector Estate programme

Government set to extend groundbreaking One Public Sector Estate programme 0

derby-council-offices-public-sector-estateThe 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

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UK Government kicks off tender process for vast public sector property framework

UK Government kicks off tender process for vast public sector property framework 0

3040748_projectposeidonbygensleraerialviewofhopThe 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.

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Nearly all UK cities lagging behind European average for productivity 0

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.

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Brexit leads to ‘softening’ of employment market, claims CIPD survey

Brexit leads to ‘softening’ of employment market, claims CIPD survey 0

BrexitThe 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.

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One in five UK workers believe their job is less secure due to Brexit vote

One in five UK workers believe their job is less secure due to Brexit vote 0

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).

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ICE makes the case for infrastructure ahead of Brexit negotiations

ICE makes the case for infrastructure ahead of Brexit negotiations 0

HS2 Euston InfrasructureIn 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.

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Government should stop using technology to put lipstick on a pig, says report

Government should stop using technology to put lipstick on a pig, says report 0

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.

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