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Asset management, property rationalisation and investment

Asset management, property rationalisation and investment

This is one of our priority Change Programme projects. 

At the budget meeting in February 2019, Council agreed an ambitious revenue saving target of £1.5M from its General Fund property portfolio over this and the next 2 financial years. This will help to protect our jobs and services.  

We have a large property estate across the Highlands and reducing our estate will reduce property maintenance costs, risks and liabilities, as well as release property for potential re-use, transfer, or redevelopment.      

The project will look at all properties to identify some for closure, and those that are suitable to provide space for additional council staff and services relocating from buildings targeted for closure.

Key factors that will influence decisions around identifying properties for potential closure include

  • Use
  • Capacity
  • High running costs
  • High property maintenance and health and safety costs
  • Risks and liabilities
  • High land value and redevelopment potential
  • The availability of suitable alternative premises from which council services can be delivered   

In order for the project to be successful, we all need to rethink how we regard and use our properties. Managers should already be proactively thinking about what their teams can do to reduce their reliance on property space by implementing new ways of working in discussion with staff. This will include:

  • Mobile and flexible working
  • Desk sharing and clear desk policies
  • Reducing service need and requirement for file storage and space
  • Application of retention schedulesAlternative service delivery methods that will free up space.

As a result of the flexible and proactive approach to property, we are already sharing some of our property with other key public sector partners, for example, the Department of Work and Pensions, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Changeworks, High Life Highland Archive Centre, in our Wick and Fort William offices, as well as elsewhere. This can improve services, reduce costs and generating an income.

You may also have ideas for beneficial co-location opportunities with other council services, or our public sector partners, or even further property rationalisation ideas. If you have any suggestions or you would like to get involved, perhaps by acting as a Change Champion locally in your area, please get in touch: