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Property joint venture halves saving projections

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Projected savings from a public sector property collaboration in the West Midlands have almost halved since the project began last year.

Members now expect to save some £58m through efficiencies and economies of scale over the 2015-25 period, instead of the £110.7m anticipated when the project began last July.

The Joint Property Vehicle is part of the government-backed One Public Estate project and brings together the property assets of Redditch BC, Worcester City Council, Worcestershire CC, Warwickshire Police, West Mercia Police and Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service.

But Herefordshire Council, which was originally involved, has left the project, and schools’ savings have had to be removed as these accrue to individual school budgets, rather than any founding partner.

A spokesman said these two factors accounted for the difference in savings expected.

The joint venture will work as a company with each partner owning a share, employing some 200 people.

Its services will include: strategic asset and data management, facilities management, oversight of major outsourced services, energy management and design and development.

The development of the joint venture has been supported by £150,000 from the Department for Communities & Local Government for an initial feasibility study. The partners were also recently successful in being awarded £400,000 from the Transformational Challenge Fund for 2014 – 2016 to support the design phase.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: “The One Public Estate programme shows what can be done when central and local government work together.

“I hope other public sector bodies will learn from this ground-breaking approach in the West Midlands which will help deliver better services by working more collaboratively.”

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