Office space faces axe again ΓÇô But how did so much excess ever come to be?
Richmond-upon-Thames council is the latest to announce the ΓÇ£centralisingΓÇ¥ of its office space as it seeks to save ┬ú1.4m per year ΓÇô but if these potential saving to the tax payer have always been possible, why is it only now that a horde of local and central government organisations are choosing to take action?
Highlighted in an article published by PublicPropertyUK.com, the London Borough of Richmond is seeking to save ┬ú1.4m by cutting what are described as ΓÇ£back officeΓÇ¥ costs and establishing a ΓÇ£property services management officeΓÇ¥ that would in effect consolidate several existing offices with similar functions into one location.
While these changes, which seem to be being grabbed at by all sorts of government organisations in the last few months, are undoubtedly driven by the austerity measures being imposed upon them as the government seeks to wrestle the national debt into submission ΓÇô one cannot help but think that any tax-payer paying attention must be questioning why, if such savings have always been possible, that it is only once the inspector has arrived that they have been spurred into action?
In the last few months we have covered a number of these organisations who, when faced with being told to cut back, have targeted their property portfolio and office space usage. Three of these government organisations alone claim they can save in excess of ┬ú250m per year. There are hundreds of county, district and regional funded bodies of this kind in England alone*.
ΓÇ£RichmondΓÇÖs move is likely to be replicated nationwideΓÇ¥ Explained Jonathan Riley, planning partner at international law firm Pinsent Masons in the same article.
ΓÇ¥However, the more radical move that we expect to see is for shared property and planning teams between authorities or within city regions ΓÇô likely to be accelerated as part of the local enterprise partnerships roll-out.ΓÇ¥
At a time when SMEs are voicing their concerns over the ability to secure lending from the UK banking sector, who were of course saved by the UK tax payer yet seem to be suffering little of the burden thanks to record profits, you have to ask how many SMEs would this ΓÇ£wastedΓÇ¥ ┬ú250m have helped if those responsible had trimmed the excess fat earlier? The question also arises as to how many years this level of supposed waste has been in place ΓÇô as little as four years could account for literally billions if you extrapolate what just three of these organisations claim to be able to cut without grinding their services to a halt.
For the average business, such as those we help to find affordable office space here at officebroker.com, the excesses seemingly overlooked by those who use their tax payments must be truly beyond belief. But avoiding such excesses is of course one of the advantages those using serviced office space enjoy ΓÇô because they are savvy, cost conscience businesses. Why oh why could our PolitianΓÇÖs not have been the same.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?