Book News: September 15th, 2009

This briefing for elected members on managing land and buildings from the Audit Commission, explains how they can ensure that their council manages its property more efficiently and effectively. It is aimed at all councillors.

Auditors reported in 2008 that only 1 in 14 councils is an excellent manager of its property assets. The days of big centrally funded capital investment programmes are over. Councils will have to take hard decisions about what property to occupy, and how they can make best use of it. Many councils do not have enough data and capacity to take strategic decisions about property assets. This makes it harder for them to respond effectively to tougher economic times.

The briefing explores some of the themes which are of particular relevance for elected members and includes a checklist of questions to help them assess how well their council is performing. All councils need land and buildings to deliver frontline services and back office functions. But few are excellent managers of their property assets, and make the best use of the huge value they represent. Councils must do more to ensure that these important assets provide exceptional value for money for local taxpayers.

The briefing is available at: