Govt wasting £326m on misused office space


Government departments are wasting hundreds of millions of pounds through inefficient use of office space, MPs have heard.

Details of the wastage were revealed during a commons public accounts committee, with estimates that up to £326 million was being lost cumulatively on an annual basis.

In total the public sector spent £6 billion running offices in 2005, which was said to be between 14 and 50 per cent less efficient than the private sector.

According to the committee, the main efficiency drivers in the use of office accommodation are location, age and general state of repair, as well as its "configuration and the way that the space is used".

The committee concluded: "Departments need to improve the quality of their management information to understand how their buildings are performing and implement action to improve efficiency.

"Many departments do not have basic information to enable them to assess building performance such as the number of people that use them and whether buildings are open plan or cellular.

"Most departments know very little about the environmental performance of individual buildings such as whether buildings have recycling schemes and the amount of energy each building consumes."

The Office of Government Commerce is aiming to deliver annual efficiency savings of up to £1.5 billion from the whole government civil property estate by 2013.