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Making the most of local authority property assets
Trowers Public Insight

Making the most of local authority property assets

Earlier this month, the Audit Commission published an interesting report on "managing council property assets" using data from the Value for Money profiles.

Earlier this month, the Audit Commission published an interesting report on "managing council property assets" using data from the Value for Money profiles.

Please click here to access the report.

The report looked at the vast number of buildings and land owned by local authorities which are both "operational" (required to provide services) and "non-operational" (investment properties). The Audit Commission estimated that the total net book value for all English councils estate was over £170 billion. With such a high value attributable to these assets, the report asks:

  • Are local authorities using space efficiently? and
  • Is there scope to release value from the estate?

Needless to say, there are wide variations in how local authorities are managing their properties and there is often an untapped opportunity for these authorities to maximise the value of these assets without having an adverse effect on services or statutory objectives.

We have worked with a number of local authorities who have taken steps to maximise the value of their property portfolios in an era where public spending has been curtailed. Public-private partnerships can often be a way in which local authorities can team with private sector expertise to ensure that valuable assets are maximised and much needed regeneration is brought to an area. A typical example is the Local Asset Backed Vehicle (LABV). Depending on the partnership structure in place, public-private partnerships need not always involve an EU procurement procedure which is often a reason why local authorities (and the private sector) are put off by property PPPs. A further trend that we have seen developing is local authorities working collaboratively to maximise their assets without any private sector involvement.

In past years, doing anything "different" with the property portfolio was seen as "selling the family silver", however, in recent years there have been a number of innovative local authorities who have proved that rather than selling the family silver, they have increased its value for future generations. Now is the time to ask if there is an opportunity for you to do the same.

If you would like any further information on the various options available to you, please contact either Helen Randall or Lucy Doran for further information.

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