Search Results for: one public sector estate

New study highlights the key roles of real estate at UK’s top law firms

New study highlights the key roles of real estate at UK’s top law firms 0

Shoosmiths-4The UK’s top law firms are spending more on their real estate and allocating more space to staff, following years of reductions. Those are two of the key findings of a new report from The Lawyer magazine and property consultants JLL. Around  half of the UK’s Top 200 law firms shared detailed data with the study, which also incorporates publicly available information on transactions. The study also takes into account the links between real estate strategy and broader strategic, management and human resources issues. While the report says the amount of space dedicated to each lawyer has risen by 7 percent over the last two years and the costs of owning real estate have also risen markedly, it also describes how many firms are now actively using flexible working to reduce real estate costs.The report concludes with a speculative look at future trends, including the uptake of coworking space.

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Public sector lagging behind in use of technology and flexible working

As we reported last week, the UK public sector is embracing some interesting new ideas in the way it uses real estate, especially its commitment to get rid of some of it by adopting flexible working and shared space. However, it’s one thing looking to use space in more flexible ways but without the technological infrastructure, it’s hard to see how they will be able to achieve as much as they could. It is in this regard that they are lagging behind their contemporaries in the private sector, according to a new report from O2 and YouGov. While the report, Redefining selling, serving and working, offers up the usual appeals for us all to make more use of the sorts of things O2 wants us to buy, there is plenty of interesting detail to tease out once the pinch of salt has been applied, not least how business practices and the way people use technology vary across sectors.

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Groundbreaking public sector estate scheme rolled out nationwide

Groundbreaking public sector estate scheme rolled out nationwide

public sector estateWe’ve reported previously on the Government’s One Public Sector Estate scheme, which encourages local authorities to find ways to share office space and find other ways of divesting buildings as well as freeing up land for development. Over the past two years there has been a phased rollout of the scheme to 32 councils. Now the Cabinet Office and the Local Government Association claim they have gauged the success of the first two phases and are confident the scheme can be expanded nationwide. Their announcement suggests that the 32 councils who are currently on the programme own 28 percent of council land and property assets in England and have applied the ideas of the One Public Sector Estate Initiative to free up land for around 9,000 homes and create some 20,000 new jobs. The councils involved are also expected to raise £129 million in capital receipts from land sales and cut running costs by £77 million over 5 years.

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MPs call on BBC to cut ‘staggering’ running costs of its estate

BBC television centre redesign plans confirmedThe body which oversees UK public spending has criticised the way the BBC is running its estate following the publication of a National Audit Office (NAO) report. While the report praises certain aspects of the way the estate is managed, especially its strategy of rationalising space, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is heavily critical of the BBC’s failure to meet its target of costs capped at 6 percent of licence fee income and the way the costs of some buildings are unacceptably high, including at the revamped Broadcasting House in London (above). According to the PAC, the running cost of the building is significantly more than others in the same area and around three times higher than a UK average. The BBC defended itself, highlighting progress in many parts of its estate and claiming that such comparisons did not stand up to scrutiny.

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NHS estate checks in for major surgery of leases and facilities management

facilities managementThe troubled organisation which looks after a £3 billion chunk of the NHS estate is set to launch an extensive review of its enormous portfolio of offices, hospitals, health centres and GP practices. According to a report on commercial property website CoStar, the move comes as NHS Property Services gets to grips with structural problems in the way the estate is managed, not least the fact that over two thirds of its properties do not have documented leases in place, many facilities management services are provided without a contract in place and nobody seems aware of the true cost of running its estate of the thousands of individual sites involved. The health estate has come under mounting scrutiny over the past two years following the setting up of NHS Property Services in April 2013 as part of the Government’s plans to modernise and rationalise the public sector property portfolio.

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Case study: A public sector building that lights the way ahead for others

The new offices of Wiltshire County Council, Trowbridge

The new offices of Wiltshire County Council, Trowbridge

Last year, I had the pleasure of producing a case study of the new offices of Wiltshire County Council for Mix Interiors magazine. Given that the building was this week shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Better Public Buildings Award and had already won an award from the BCO, we thought this seemed a good time to retread its corridors of power…. The recession has led the UK government to develop a number of new approaches to public sector buildings. But some of the UK’s local authorities are way ahead of the new thinking. Even so, there was a time, not so long ago, when nobody worried too much about the shape of the rooms that led off the corridors of power. But the pressure on UK public finances has politicised the design of the UK’s public buildings, with the government launching a wide range of initiatives to improve the efficiency of the way public sector acquires, designs and runs the places it calls home.

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Government extends public estate scheme as DCLG moves in with Home Office

public estateThe UK government has announced that it is to extend its groundbreaking One Public Estate scheme to a further twenty local authorities. The programme aims to divest and consolidate government-owned land and property to cut public sector spending and boost economic growth and regeneration. The government believes the initial phase will save £21m in running costs and £88m in capital receipts, generate around £40m for local economies and create an estimated 5,500 jobs and 7,500 homes over the next five years. The Cabinet Office is now looking to build on this with the extension of the schemes to councils including Liverpool and Birmingham city centres as well as six from Greater Manchester and Cornwall, Southampton and Plymouth. The Government Property Unit will provide funding and training to the participating authorities.

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Innovative public sector property scheme to be extended

Hull GuildhallOne of the UK’s most innovative property strategies, the One Public Sector Estate programme is to be extended, the Government has announced. The initiative was established in June of last year in 12 pilot areas as a way for central and local government departments to share offices and other public sector property. The programme will now be extended to as many as 15 new authorities across the country with the Cabinet Office claiming that the pilot schemes have already  saved around £21m in under a year and that the sale of property freed up by the scheme will raise an additional £88 million. The strategy is jointly managed by the property arm of the Cabinet Office who are responsible for similar initiatives in central government, and the Local Government Association.

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DEFRA confirms Montagu Evans is to manage its UK-wide estate

DEFRAIn one of the largest public sector portfolios to be re-tendered in recent years, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has appointed Montagu Evans to manage its UK-wide commercial estate. Montagu Evans takes over the three-year contract to manage the estates from DTZ, which has been advising Defra in its role as estates asset manager for the past four-and-a-half years. Montagu Evans will take over the management of the estates, which consists of over 180 properties, from 1 March 2014. Montagu Evans managing partner Steve Thomas said: “We are delighted to have secured such an important appointment. We have been highly impressed with the Defra team and believe there is an excellent fit with Montagu Evans’ tradition of delivering high-quality services.”

If you are moving to new offices, make sure you can get rid of the old ones first

Building 1000 - seemed like a good idea at the time

Building 1000 – seemed like a good idea at the time

One of the most common reasons for large organisations to move to new offices is a consolidation of an extensive and disparate estate that has developed over a long period of time. But what happens when the benefits of the move are scuppered because the organisation finds it impossible to get rid of its old buildings? That is the question facing Newham Borough Council as it emerges that it may have to quit the controversially swanky £110 million offices it moved to in 2010 and back into some of the 26 properties it left at the time and has struggled to unburden itself of since.

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Wellness in Real Estate resolution passed for U.S. built environment

The influential U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) has voted unanimously to pass a Wellness in Real Estate Resolution which commits to promoting buildings that “use a combination of criteria and features that will enhance the well-being of occupants and address growing preventable health concerns and costs.” The resolution is one of ten new sustainability resolutions for the U.S. built environment commended by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which praised the USCM for “showing courage and leadership by embracing a strong sustainability and green building policy agenda”. More →

UK public sector leading the way in procurement and sustainable building

Nottingham City Council's Loxley Building

Nottingham City Council’s Loxley Building

Over the last few years, the UK Government has grown increasingly interested in finding ways of making its £30 billion property portfolio more efficient. Both the last Labour government and the current Coalition administration have been driven by the opportunities offered them with the advent of new technology, new ways of working and new procurement models. They’ve pursued these issues to cut costs by reducing and changing the way property is designed and managed but have also found how that can also help to establish best practice in sustainable building. What is increasingly apparent, especially given recent news from the Major Projects Authority about cost savings in procurement is that the public sector is now leading the way as models of good practice.

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