Property services group aims to save councils cash through new consultancy

Leena Gillespie

A property services partner and consultant to the public sector has launched a new service to help councils boost their income, cut costs, drive regeneration and improve energy efficiency.

Manchester-based PSP, formerly Public Sector Plc, will assist local authorities to rightsize their land and property assets.

Its new strategic asset management service is expected to be in demand as the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2022/23 saw funding levels for councils remain about 30-50% below their 2015/16 levels for all classes of authority.

COVID has also had an effect, with fewer council staff now working in the offices that public sector bodies own across the UK, creating a significant portfolio of under-utilised office space.

A survey carried out by PWC in 2021 found that 57% of public sector organisations planned to reduce their office footprint, with three-fifths of those envisaging a reduction of between 11% and 30%.

PSP’s new service will offer strategic and operational asset management services for PSP local authority clients, including, estate rationalisation, energy performance, maintenance, statutory compliance, decarbonisation strategy, stakeholder engagement, and optimisation of expenditure.

The asset management service is fully managed by PSP’s team, allowing local authority partners to focus their time and resources on the other pressing challenges that lie ahead.

An initial review by PSP of a typical historical council building provides the local authority with an overview of usage, condition, running costs and future requirements. It also identifies the gaps in information available, the costs to obtain this and the business case as to why the next stage of work should be progressed to optimise the asset.

The asset management service is led by Leena Gillespie, commercial director at PSP, who has more than 18 years’ experience in property , project management, and commercial finance.

She said: “While councils vary enormously in size, and thus in the nature of their asset holdings, almost all public sector bodies have faced significant budgetary pressures or budget cuts over the past decade.

“In the age of hybrid working many public sector bodies have under-used property assets and face a common challenge in getting the most from their valuable property resources to future proof their budgets and service delivery.

“PSP has created this new service because our partners tell us they are looking to unlock more value to help navigate the unprecedented changes and challenges that they face.

“These include meeting climate change commitments and sustainability goals and optimising value for money through new ways of working. By enabling our partners to unlock new income streams and create significant savings in their asset portfolio, we can help councils free up more time to focus on levelling up inequalities, regenerating communities, reviving local economies, job creation and delivering clean growth.”

Based in Brown Street, in Manchester, the PSP team is already working with councils in England and Northern Ireland to repurpose council assets, delivering commercial and community uses and transforming under-utilised buildings.

PSP said that, since 2007, it has helped to deliver 4,500 new jobs, £184m in land value uplift, more than 2,000 new homes and 680kT in carbon emission savings.

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...