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Press Release

Local government could save £7bn a year - report

by Interserve Press Office | Feb 02, 2011

This afternoon Eric Pickles MP will introduce a report detailing how local government can save £7 billion a year in running costs, cut carbon and improve services through managing their property assets efficiently, sustainably and in partnership with other service providers.

The report, sponsored by Interserve and produced as part of an inquiry by the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum, chaired by Matthew Hancock MP, is entitled, “Leaner and Greener: Delivering Effective Estate Management”. It has cross-party support and backing from the public and private sectors.

Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: “This timely report shows that every council could save millions by managing their properties better, using the money to protect frontline services or keep council tax down.”

The purpose of the inquiry was to investigate how the public sector could improve the sustainability of its estate management. The inquiry’s recommendations suggest that if local authorities streamline office space use, sharing it with other service providers and local authorities, they can reduce their space requirements by up to 30 per cent and save £7 billion a year in running costs. Moreover, for the space that remains in use, local government can save a further £190 per sq m per year by following a suite of sustainability measures.

Matthew Hancock MP, Chair of the inquiry, said: “Local Government owns huge amounts of our towns and cities. On investigation, we often found poor use of that property, costing money and adding to carbon emissions. What we found surprising, is that where improvements have been made, the people working there told us that they had not just saved cost and saved carbon, but also improved services as a result. This report looks at case studies where bold changes have been made, and assesses how much can be saved from improving use of the buildings that surround us.”

Case studies where these management methods have already been put into practice are cited throughout the report, including Birmingham City Council which will reduce the 55 buildings it uses for office space to eight, saving 50,000 sq m. One building in particular, the Lancaster Circus Council Building has already cut 10,000 sq m of floor space, generating savings of £3.5 million per year in running costs, making a carbon reduction of 40 per cent.

Stephen Hughes, CEO of Birmingham Council said: “Working in this manner has been a success story for us; in these times of fiscal austerity, I would urge other local councils to try the same methods.”

Adrian Ringrose, Chief Executive of Interserve, commented: “Interserve recognises that the public sector needs to maximise the return from its estate now more than ever before. We are actively involved in assisting local government organisations in identifying and delivering efficiency opportunities, and see this report as an important contribution to the debate on how best this can happen.”

– Ends –

For further information please contact:

Giles Scott
Head of Corporate Communications
0118 960 2307

Elizabeth Morley / Tom Eckersley
020 7379 5151

Rosie Shute
0207 202 8587
Policy Connect

Notes to editors

The report, “Leaner and Greener: Delivering Effective Estate Management” was produced by WSBF, and sponsored by Interserve, Colliers International and Consensus Business Group (GBG).

About Interserve

Interserve's vision is to be the Trusted Partner of all our stakeholders. We are one of the world’s foremost support services and construction companies, operating in the public and private sectors in the UK and internationally. We offer advice, design, construction and facilities management services for society's infrastructure and provide a range of plant and equipment in specialist fields. Interserve is based in the UK. It has revenue of £1.9 billion and a workforce of 50,000 people worldwide.

General website:

About Westminster Sustainable Business Forum

The Westminster Sustainable Business Forum (WSBF) is an independent, cross-party and not-for-profit coalition of key UK businesses, government agencies and parliamentarians, which seeks to promote effective sustainability policy in the UK. For more information, see

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