16 Feb 2012

Public sector property needs 'joined-up approach' to reduce costs

A new approach to property management in the public sector is needed to reduce costs and manage changing workspace requirements, according to a report by Deloitte

In the Space-based Budgeting report, Deloitte says there will soon be enough empty workspace in the public sector to fill London’s Shard building nearly five times over. The firm says a more joined-up approach to estates management would help the public sector to better understand and reduce the costs involved, and decide where to allocate funds in the future

The public sector has £385bn worth of property under management, and currently, 552 properties with nearly 440,000 sq m of space is standing empty.

A further 100,000 square metres is expected to become vacant.

Mike Turley, head of Deloitte's public sector practice, said, “Cuts in the public sector are fundamentally changing the size and shape of government. This presents a golden opportunity to put public sector asset management on the right path. But, to do this, property needs to be at the heart of work to modernise government.

“The government’s property portfolio is a patchwork of assets and liabilities and a significant cost item on balance sheets.

“Estates management is marginalised from the top decision-makers and has not been a career for high-fliers. As a result, property managers often lack the clout to make their voices heard. The public sector needs a firmer grasp on what it owns and what it owes, and to join up internally with functions such as IT, HR and customer services to map future needs.”


Helen Roxburgh