March 24, 2015
Yesterday, the Government published its State of the Estate report for 2014 detailing the size and cost, efficiency of use and sustainability of central government buildings. The report covers all central government property with the exception of the military estate, prisons, NHS, Defra rural estate, Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Home Office and overseas estate. The current Government has laid great store on its ability to rationalise and improve the estate and the report focuses on its achievements in this regard. The report claims that since 2010, the changes have resulted in the estate divesting some 2,000 properties (28 percent of the total), reduced the footprint of the estate by 2 million sq. m. (a 20 percent reduction). It claims that this has been achieved by “identifying underused properties and modernising buildings to make better use of a smaller number of properties and the space within them.”
The report also lays out the effects of cultural changes including the use of shared space and the uptake of flexible working including a reduction in space standards to 11.3 sq m per full time employee, down from 13.0 sq m in 2010 and a space allocation of 10.7 sq m per workstation down from 12.3 sq m in 2010. The report claims that these standards compare very favourably with standard practice in the private sector (12.6 sq m per FTE and 12.9 sq m per workstation).
The report claims that the resultant savings include £1.4 billion capital receipts from freehold disposals in total since 2010 and £625 million savings in 2013/14 from sales and the reduction in the annual running cost of the estate.