February 29, 2012 -- Public sector organisations in South West England are collaborating to make more effective use of their property assets and rationalise their accommodation requirements. In the initial years this is expected to save local taxpayers around £1.5 million per annum.
Working under the ‘Community Budgets’ initiative, the partnership is using local authorities’ Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) addressing information from to provide a system of common reference to enable all partner assets to be mapped and facilitate joint working. The partnership’s efforts were recognised at the recent National Gazetteers Exemplar Awards, where it was awarded the winner in the Integration Award category.
The public sector was challenged to find radical new solutions using a whole area approach to not only deliver better value for money, but also better local services. In the project, partners from a wide range of public sector organisations across the South West including: local authorities; fire; police and NHS organisations came together to better manage public sector property assets across the region.
Bristol City Council, who headed up the technical work stream, used the LLPG data from the local authority partners to create a common data format, enabling every organisation to submit its own property details in a consistent way, complete with precise location. All the data was held in a central database.
The result is an online web mapping resource, with properties searchable by address or postcode. Clicking on a building reveals a pop-up box which provides: an address; property classification; a property reference number and contact details for the person responsible for managing the property. Asset managers can ‘post’ opportunities so they can let each other know when a building might have some free space available, is available for let or is up for sale.
Some innovative shared space arrangements have arisen as a result of the project, with savings of over £1.5m in the first year. Service users benefit from more convenient, joined-up service provision. Tenants benefit from rents that may be below normal market levels and building owners benefit from increased contributions to their own management costs.
Richard Mason, Managing Director for GeoPlace said: “This innovative project in the South West, led by South Gloucestershire, is very much at the forefront of the agenda and it is great to see the substantial savings which using addressing information can bring. As the most efficient part of the public sector, councils are always seeking innovative ways to improve services and save the taxpayer millions of pounds in the process.”
Photograph shows, in foreground, Val Purkis of Bristol City Council with Linda Mawby of South Gloucestershire Council.
Gayle Gander, Head of Marketing, GeoPlace, Email Contact, T 020 7747 3500, www.geoplace.co.uk