Headlines: March 27th, 2008

Public sector leaders are to be offered the chance to take a strategic view of property so they can get maximum value from what is seen as an expensive, but often ignored, asset. The National School of Government and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors are to run a series of seminars to back up the ‘Public Sector Property Asset Management Guidance’, which was published recently.

The development of the seminars follows a National Audit Office report which found central government’s annual spending on property could be cut by 326 million pounds by bringing cost performance of individual buildings in line with the best private sector practice. It also found that in spite of progress in this area government was still a long way from achieving value for money.

Andrew Howarth, from the National School, said the problem was that property was not seen as strategic resource. Mr. Howarth, who contributed to the Office of Government Commerce ‘High Performing Property’ strategy, added, “ We need to turn this around, and so we have designed new seminars for senior managers, property professionals and their teams.”

The seminars, available as half or whole-day sessions, will support the guidance which applies to the wider public sector. They have been designed primarily for central government staff but the organisers say they will be highly relevant to staff working in equivalent capacities in local government and health. Themes for the seminars will include an introduction to property asset management, strategy development and capital planning, property programmes and business cases, performance management, team building, project management and estate rationalisation.

More information is available from Andrew Howarth on 01344 634255 or Andrew.Howarth@nationalschool.gsi.gov.uk.