The Government Property Agency has been officially established as an executive agency, setting out with the aim of improving efficiency and generating benefits of between £1.4bn and £2.4bn over the next ten years.
The GPA’s initial portfolio of 80 properties will grow to over 1,000 as it takes on increasing responsibility for managing the general purpose central government estate. The idea is to approach property strategically in a way individual departments cannot and be an enabler for the delivery of civil service transformation and regional growth.
The body has taken on the Government Hubs consolidation programme, under which 12 hubs have been announced so far by HMRC, with India Buildings in central Liverpool set to replace a number of smaller local offices and Three New Bailey being confirmed last week as Greater Manchester’s hub location.
In all 12 locations, the hub has been the biggest pre-let of that year, with the hubs in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast being the largest pre-lets in a decade. The driving principle of the programme is to reduce space required for each civil servant from 86 sq ft per full-time employee to 64 sq ft.
Former British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace is chairing the GPA. She said: “This is an exciting time for government property and demonstrates the focus on improving the commercial capability in estates management.
“The GPA team will bring the concept of a cross-government corporate real estate organisation into reality. As well as the significant benefits to the Exchequer that will come from the GPA, its impact on departmental transformation and quality of workspace will be key to delivering a truly modern and excellent Civil Service.”
Peace, who has been chairing the agency since early 2017 in its shadow form, has described it as an asset manager for government departments. Oversight of the GPA is provided y sponsor body the Office of Government Property, formerly the Government Property Unit.
Oliver Dowden, minister for implementation, added: “The creation of the Government Property Agency will transform the way property is managed in the general purpose central government estate, generating savings of over £1bn over the next ten years.
The Hubs programme is a catalyst for growth in city centres across the UK, helping to boost jobs and economic growth, as well as demonstrating the government’s commitment to strengthening the Union and enhancing regional career paths.”