A sustainable and effective public sector estate is central to the Government’s aim of delivering more accessible and joined-up public services. Central government owns land and property worth around £179 billion, representing 43 per cent of the total public sector estate. The four departments with the largest estate footprints are the Department for Work and Pensions, the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and HM Revenue and Customs, which together occupy over 60 per cent of the central government estate.
This central estate – totalling 7.7 million m² – costs about £2.57 billion per year to run. The Government has pledged to reduce the operational and maintenance costs of estates, raise capital for house building through the sale of surplus land or vacant spaces, and improve the effective use of spaces. However, there are still important questions that need to be addressed around some of the key priorities of government. These include the core principle of a “fit-for-purpose” estate, the way in which the estate is financed and funded, and the maintenance of estates in terms of capital works and facilities management contracts.