Headlines: November 8th, 2011

Rationalisation of the public sector property portfolio, working in partnerships and adopting new practices, such as flexible working, could improve workforce productivity by up to 15 per cent.

Using buildings differently is the key proposal in the Parliamentary report “Leaner and Greener II: Putting Buildings to Work”. The review was carried out by the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum.

The report describes the scope for efficiency when Councils and other public bodies like the police and fire services work together. The best public bodies are already operating in this way. The report shows that if the best was replicated across the country some £8bn could be generated in better staff productivity and better services.

Case studies in the report provide practical solutions to the economic and environmental challenges and describe best practice showing what can be done immediately to start the process of unlocking savings.

In Hampshire public sector organisations found that they can achieve a 36 per cent reduction in public floor space alongside improvements in service delivery through pan-public sector property working. Such practice across Hampshire could deliver savings of up to £324 million. This would reduce operational costs for the assets involved of up to 50 per cent.

In Cambridgeshire the joint management and use of property, leading to rationalisation of the estate and lower running costs, is expected to deliver a 20 per cent increase in disposals over five years and a 20 per cent revenue saving.

Following an investment of £1.2 million in 11 initiatives, Barts and The London NHS Trust generated annual financial savings of £800,000, leading to a combined payback of the initial investment over 18 months.