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Government continues with massive reduction in size of public sector estate

Government continues with massive reduction in size of public sector estate

Work to reduce the UK government estate has seen its size fall by 156,000 square metres over the past year. This makes the estate a third smaller than it was in 2010 – creating a saving in real terms of £760 million in running costs, according to the Government. Today’s State of the Estate report also claims that a further £750 million in capital receipts has been generated this year from the sale of over 400 sites, delivering a total of £2.4bn in capital receipts over the past three years. At the same time, vacant space across the government estate is just 1.4 percent, which is significantly lower than in the private sector, according to the report.

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British Property Federation announces plans to modernise commercial property sector

British Property Federation announces plans to modernise commercial property sector

The British Property Federation (BPF) has launched a Technology and Innovation programme for the UK commercial property sector – to support the sector in its digital transformation – following the Government’s challenge to all sectors of the economy to improve productivity and deliver growth. The programme is launched with the publication of a new report produced by Future Cities Catapult, commissioned by the BPF, to understand the barriers to and opportunities for improving the productivity of the real estate sector through the application of technology.

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New government estates strategy will see thousands of jobs relocate away from London

New government estates strategy will see thousands of jobs relocate away from London

estates strategyThe UK Government has announced it latest plans to save around £3.6bn over the next two decades by dramatically scaling back its property estate and relocating thousands of staff as part of its new 12 year estates strategy. The Cabinet Office has outlined the plans to move thousands of public sector jobs, including senior roles, out of London by 2030, reducing Whitehall buildings from around 65 to 20 over the same period. Around 20 so-called Government hubs will be set up in the regions by the end of this parliament in 2022. In total, the strategy commits to reducing the number of government-owned office buildings from 800 to under 200, with an estimated saving of £3.6bn over 20 years.

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New Scotland Yard wins Better Public Building Award at the 2017 British Construction Industry Awards

New Scotland Yard wins Better Public Building Award at the 2017 British Construction Industry Awards

The New Scotland Yard building on Victoria Embankment has been named as the winner of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award. The Award sets out to ‘recognise excellence in publicly funded buildings and infrastructure, and highlights projects that bring real change to communities, demonstrate innovative and efficient construction and deliver value for money’. The winning building, designed by AHMM, is a £58 million project that remodelled and extended the former Curtis Green building. It represents a move back to Victoria Embankment for the Metropolitan Police service, having first previously occupied the address in 1890. The new entrance is designed ‘to create a welcoming and non-institutional yet secure front door’ and reinstates the iconic revolving sign. The project was completed as part of a major rethink of the organisation’s corporate real estate strategy, in line with UK Government objectives for the public sector estate.

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Government failing to meet goals for an integrated real estate portfolio

Government failing to meet goals for an integrated real estate portfolio 0

The UK Government is getting better value for money from its estate, according to a new report from the National Audit Office. The Government Property Unit (GPU), however, has not yet made much progress towards its objective of creating a shared, flexible and integrated estate. The government’s central estate includes some 4,600 individual holdings, costing around £2.55 billion a year to run. The GPU, which is part of the Cabinet Office, was set up in 2010 to better co-ordinate estate management in the public sector. Since the NAO’s last report in 2012, departments have continued to make good progress in reducing the overall size of the central estate. They have also reduced overall estate spending and pay less for office accommodation than private sector comparators. Departments report they have reduced their annual estate costs by £775 million in real terms since 2011-12 to around £2.55 billion in 2015-16. Between 2011-12 and 2015-16, departments raised £2.5 billion by selling surplus land and properties. The GPU is also starting to have an impact on the wider public estate.

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The impact of technology on corporate real estate: A Panglossian future?

The impact of technology on corporate real estate: A Panglossian future? 0

arton233Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman introduced the concept of Loss Aversion in 1984, highlighting people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. Most studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains. Lose £100 and we will feel a remorse that easily outweighs winning £100. In a similar fashion we find it very hard to see future positives when confronted with short term loses. We understand easily what we have lost but cannot imagine what there is to be gained. Furthermore, as Frederic Bastiat wrote in an 1850 paper, “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen”, man has a tendency to “pursue a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, rather than a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil”. Put these together and it is no wonder that, by and large, the future of work, corporate real estate and the workplace is so widely misunderstood.

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Major corporate real estate occupiers struggle to balance cost cutting with strategic goals

Major corporate real estate occupiers struggle to balance cost cutting with strategic goals 0

Although the world’s major corporate real estate occupiers retain a focus on managing the costs of their workplace when it comes to making the big decisions, there is a growing emphasis on offsetting this against issues such as staff recruitment and retention. That is the key finding of a new report from Cushman & Wakefield into the priorities and decision making of large corporate occupiers. It claims that firms are now far more focused on striking the right balance between goals that are often in direct opposition to one another. The study, produced in partnership with CoreNet Global, was based on interviews with 266 occupiers, three quarters of whom have more than 25 offices worldwide. The survey examined not only how location and workplace strategy are viewed as corporate value drivers, but also CRE’s alignment with business strategy.

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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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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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Brexit; a round-up of latest thoughts from the property and workplace sectors

Brexit; a round-up of latest thoughts from the property and workplace sectors 0

22 Bishopsgate threatened by BrexitWhatever your opinions on Brexit, there’s no doubt that it has created a range of frequently turbulent knock on effects in the workplace, commercial property, design and architecture sectors. We’ve shared some of the latest views on the next page to go with the initial reactions delivered by a still shell-shocked world that we published last Friday. One thing seems pretty clear is that for most firms, including those in the commercial property sector, there is no rush to judgement and most are prepared to continue business as usual while so much remains undecided. For the same reasons, the FT is reporting that some developers are putting projects on ice until they have more certainty and a report from researchers Green Street suggests that the eventual decision to leave the EU will result in a substantial fall in real estate values. Meanwhile, CIBSE is the latest organisation to calm fears about the impact of the UK leaving the EU.

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Government plans to cut size of estate by 75 percent by 2023

Government plans to cut size of estate by 75 percent by 2023 0

Old_War_Office_Building_London_MOD_45137377The UK Government has today published the latest edition of its annual State of the Estate report, which gives an update on plans to consolidate, divest and modernise the central government property portfolio. Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock claims that the current administration has reduced the size of the estate by 2.4 million sq. m. since 2010. (As is the way of these things, the minister claims this is equivalent to 336football pitches, 43 Shards or more than the entire principality of Monaco. Presumably individual departments measured their own successes in blue whales and double decker buses.)  He claims that this means that the total central government estate has fallen below 5,000 holdings for the first time and could fit inside the area of West Finchley (which is a new measurement on us). The reduction has been achieved by selling property ranging from the historic Old War Office (top) to an old bakery and lighthouse.

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