OGC begin civil estate examination

Whitehall procurement watchdog the Office of Government Commerce is to undertake a six-month cost cutting pilot project to assess how government can improve the management and use of its £2bn spending estate from today.

Link: Leasing standard hits home for property company

Launched jointly by the OGC and international property firm Occupiers Property Databank, the project will look at occupancy costs, space use and building and management effectiveness of the civil estates’ 260 properties and 10 million square metres of space. This will provide a benchmark figure that the government will use to improve its performance and make efficiency savings.

It currently costs central government (excluding agencies, non-departmental public bodies and the MoD and health estates) about £2bn a year to manage its civil estate, so the scope for significant efficiency gains is high.

While individual departments have systems in place to measure how efficiently they are managing individual estates, little has been done to ‘corporately’ measure the efficiency or effectiveness of the civil estate.

A project board, drawn from OGC, Department for Trade and Industry, the Department for Health, the Home Office, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Work and Pensions, will draw together a list of key performance indicators.

If the pilot is successful, the government said the service will be rolled out to all government departments over a further two and half years.

Mike Burt, OGC director for government relocation and asset management said: ‘Effective performance measurement and benchmarking of the way that government operates its civil estate is fundamental to achieving longer lasting efficiency gains from managing this enormous and costly estate.’

Related reading