Leaner and greener inquiry

Published on Monday, 07 November 2011 14:13
Posted by Scott Buckler

Guy Brett, Ernst & Young, Director, Real Estate Advisory who sat on the Steering Group, provides a response to Leaner and Greener II inquiry

• Better sharing and use of £370 billion public buildings is crucial to public sector efficiency and reform
• Clear  examples of local authorities where buildings bills and energy consumption is being reduced by thousands by pooling assets and matching service demands
• Ernst & Young provides top tips for success for public authorities

Our local buildings provide the meeting places, books, clinical equipment, ambulance and police services, sports facilities, classrooms and care beds used by our communities and the staff who work on their behalf. During the inquiry we argued for a fundamental change in the model for managing the public sector portfolio, which can potentially release billions of pounds. Leaner and Greener II is of great interest because it sets out routes for local public bodies to save money and carbon, while actually improving public access to services, by pooling assets and matching service demands. The prize at stake is not simply savings but service transformation.

“In the East of England, we see the police service that shares space with the library service, in Scotland, the council that shares its office with the courts, police, fire, prosecution service and health board; or the public bodies in England that have co-located benefits services with Jobcentre Plus and business links with youth activities. While the big prize comes from reducing bills on costly buildings, there are also potential savings from property contracts and management teams.

However this is unlikely to be achieved overnight because, it is fair to say, diluting control over buildings is not in most organisations’ DNA. Practically, it means people from many separate public bodies putting aside mistrust, sovereignty fears and other ‘barriers’,  to work on sharing buildings and joining up services for the collective good.  The main tips for success  are articulating clearly at the outset the size of the prize and ensuring participants are fully involved in identifying opportunities themselves; getting the management board membership right; focus  on early wins and business and usual (maintaining individual organisations’ business priorities)and building a pipeline of opportunities through a programme of local property reviews.”


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