What is the aim?
This week the Government Property Strategy (2022-2030) was officially launched which sets out how public sector estate will be transformed over the next eight years, whilst also delivering £2bn in savings.
With an estate spanning over 150m m2, worth over £150bn and costing almost £22bn a year to run, the Strategy highlights the scale of the opportunity split across 3 key missions:
- Transform places and services
- A smaller, better and greener estate
- Improve professional excellence and insight
Organisations are required to develop property strategies setting objectives that take account of their individual business drivers and informed by the principles of this Strategy. Where there are property asset types in use by multiple organisations, portfolio strategies will be developed, setting objectives that take into account future cross-government demand, condition, sustainability and affordability for each asset class. These should be in place by March 2023.
Transforming places and services – key points to note
This mission will be delivered through:
- Places for Growth programme
- Redevelopment of surplus land and buildings Construction, infrastructure and regeneration projects, including through:
- Homes England
- London and Continental Railways (LCR) programmes
- Disposals must consider social and public value alongside economic value
- Investment of £300m in locally led grant funding, including the Brownfield Land Release Fund
- Improving market engagement through a new digital shopfront for surplus property - all vacant/surplus sites will appear on the property finder
- Where major investment programmes are being delivered through partnerships, a single, holistic, whole of government programme business case should be prepared, managed by the lead partner
A smaller, better and greener estate– key points to note
- Need a whole portfolio view of assets, recognising the value to other Gov priorities from repurposing/disposal
- Build on sustainability requirements and standards for the whole lifecycle of the property
- Need to recycle capital receipts or resource savings into improving condition and environmental performance
- Estate needs to meet the: Cabinet Office Customer Service Excellence Standard and
‘Modern Civil Service’s’ needs
- Improved use of building technology re: building use and condition
- Government Property Data Standard – common data collection programme to inform capital investment
- To deliver £500m operating cost savings by 2024/25
- To develop a pipeline of disposals, with receipts of £500m per annum
- Create a smaller Whitehall Campus, via Places for Growth programme (only 16 buildings to remain)
- Decarbonisation of the estate – net zero by 2050
- For acquisitions ensure environmental assessment, as per Government Buying Standards for Buildings
- Meet goals of 25-Year Environment Plan and the Greening Government Commitments (GGC)
- Developing an Adaption framework , Adaptation Risk Assessment and Action Plan methodologies
- Developing biodiversity and natural capital guidance for estates teams
Improve professional excellence and insight – key points to note
- Development of the Government Property Profession: Professional training programmes and Government School of Property - a profession specific learning offer
- Digital property asset register – a ‘Domesday Book’ of all government property assets
- Replace the government’s central property database (e-PIMS) with a new digital property asset register (InSite) – analytics tool built in
- Government Functional Standard for Property and its supporting management framework, including:
Net Zero Estate Playbook
Property Data Standard
National Property Control
- Increase use of new technologies such as smart buildings, sensors, and real-time feedback
Leading the way
AA Projects is a community of multi sector specialists brought together around the needs of our clients and their communities.
As consultants we support local and national projects through engagement with a number of client organisations including central government agencies, local authorities, devolved administrations, LEPs, PFI/PPP providers, facilities managers and developers. Our role is in support of the continued asset management of estates, and through the creation of regional strategies, green book business cases, NetZero Carbon programmes, and JV development agreements. We help our clients unlock opportunities in their estate whether that in in the review of their fixed assets or through holistic whole system approaches, working with anchor institutions and the creation of collaborative workspaces. This work results in the delivery of regional growth strategies, town centre regeneration, placemaking and housing.
Putting it into practice – a place-based approach
We have recently been appointed by Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust and Bradford Metropolitan District Council to undertake a Neighbourhood Asset Review (NAR) of the public sector estate across the Bradford District. The NAR programme is an initiative designed to support local public services to address future needs through the built environment. It appraises public sector assets in context to local community need, an in association with public sector services and their ambitions for improved health and community. It is a service-led estates strategy for a whole locality, rather than a specific organisation or sector. The Government Property Strategy notes c30 funded programmes which could be utilised to enable this type of approach.
The NAR is a transformational programme and will require significant behavioural change from both internal and external stakeholders. It will also need careful consideration with regards to local political drivers. It aims to help push forward the place-based integration of health, social, care and wellbeing related services and assets in order to improve the health and wider determinants of health outcomes for Bradford residents.
The overarching aim is to drive the development of a more fit for purpose, flexible, sustainable and cost-efficient estate. In the long-term it is anticipated that this approach will lead to social and economic benefits including contribution to increased housing delivery, increased employment opportunities and economic growth.
For each NAR we appraise properties in accordance with local community need and in association with public sector service providers, in line with ambitions for improved health and community outcomes. The output informs the development of subsequent business cases for capital developments and estate rationalisation plans.