The Government Property Unit (GPU) was established in 2010 to work with central government departments to drive savings across the government estate. It also works with local authorities to support them in achieving local public sector estates that are cost-effective, support the delivery of better integrated public services and exploit surplus land and property for growth.
The GPU has made significant progress since 2010:
- the total size of the government estate has fallen by a quarter, equivalent to over 2 million square metres;
- over £1 billion has been saved in running costs;
- it has overseen the collection of over £3 billion capital receipts from the sale of surplus land and property.
The GPU has won several awards, including the Estate Gazette Collaboration Award, System of the Year at the Property Management Awards, and a nomination for Deal of the Year (for Canary Wharf Hub) at the Property Week Awards.
This strategy centres on the delivery of the following core programmes:
One Public Estate (OPE)
Bringing together public sector bodies in a locality or region to work in partnership to identify and implement projects to help manage their assets more effectively, and deliver better services and growth.
Asset Efficiency and Land for Housing
Seeking to manage and release government assets, which raises capital receipts, cuts running costs, and delivers local economic growth, including new homes and jobs.
Shadow Government Property Agency
Will provide professional asset management services across the government’s portfolio, reducing operating costs and enabling government to take a more commercial approach to leases and property management. The GPU will act as the sponsor body for the GPA when it is established, providing oversight and guidance to ensure delivery of its policy objectives.
Government Hubs Programme
Driving a radical reshaping of the civil service estate, and a consolidated footprint where shared space across government is the norm. The Hubs programme transferred to the Shadow GPA in January 2017.
The GPU, alongside Public Bodies Reform, is looking at the relocation of public bodies located in London and the surrounding area, to boost regional growth and help rebalance the UK economy through the clustering of connected organisations, including private sector businesses and strengthen the Union.
The delivery of these policies are facilitated by further GPU workstreams, which seek to build the capability of government’s property professionals, drive closer collaboration with the private sector and provide the data and modelling needed to identify, benchmark and deliver additional savings for the taxpayer.
Around 4,700 staff work in the Property Function, from a range of professions and work areas. Just over 2,000 are members of the Government Property Profession.
Data, management information, benchmarking and modelling service
Holds the only source in central government of estates data spanning diverse assets over multiple public bodies. The service reports the performance of government property to Parliament, comparing estate costs and utilisation against the private sector benchmarks.