by Mike Stone, Essentia Associate Director – Property
The public sector is making cuts across the board to balance the books. Frontline services are under constant threat and the health and social care system is straining.
To deliver efficiencies across the public sector it makes sense to work with other partners in your area to look at using taxpayers’ money wisely to create solutions that benefit everyone. The Local Government Association (LGA) and Cabinet Office (CO) supports that and are set to provide further seed funding as part of the One Public Estate (OPE) initiative. Already, 70 per cent of English councils have OPE status plus initial funding and the target is 95 per cent by the end of 2018.
So, why hasn’t everyone done it?
To be effective in applying for the money, several different partners must agree on the project. Organisations will want to make sure they protect their own interests, whilst also understanding the aggregated benefits from collaboration.
A lot of the OPE money has gone to projects driven by Local Authority teams looking for place-based solutions. Other agencies from police, fire, ambulance, Network Rail, TFL, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defence and NHS etc can also be involved. Getting people to collaborate is not an easy task but, it can be extremely beneficial.
In our experience, the most effective applications have good senior leadership and buy-in. They are driven by those who see the benefits of a collaborative outcome, with a fine line between command and control.
There is a window of opportunity to submit an application – organisations need to have the momentum to drive it forward – this is a key component to success.
With multiple teams working together, it is important to bring the various different working methods to the table. Differences should not hold back progress, but be used to enhance it. You can’t take your eye of the end goal of ultimately benefitting the community you serve.
Sometimes a neutral advisor can help to facilitate collaboration and keep the project on-track. A portfolio of projects within the application should include quick wins, as well as longer term, ambitious schemes.
We can help
Essentia has helped to win several OPE bids by delivering coherent applications that meet the exacting standards of the LGA and Cabinet Office.
The next OPE funding dates to be announced soon.
We would be happy to talk to you about your ideas for local projects. Get in touch now.