3 April 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The vacancy rate in the government central estate has fallen by 40 per cent in five years, according to the The State of the Estate 2016/17 report.
The size of the central estate has decreased from 8,006,894 square metres in 2015-16 to 7,893,499 sq m in 2016-17 - a reduction of 1.42 per cent. This fall of 113,395 sq m is equivalent to 435 tennis courts and should be viewed in the context of a reduction of over 1.3 million sq m in the past four years.
The operating cost of the estate during the financial year 2016-17 was £2.57 billion. Adjusted for inflation, this represents a 1.4 per cent reduction in real terms on the previous year's total of £2.55 billion.
Office use continued to improve and space per person for 2016-17 was 9.9 sq m - representing a 5 per cent reduction on the 2015-16 figure of 10.4 sq m.
The improvements are primarily a result of a 3 per cent decrease in office space and the growth in the number of civil servants by 0.3 per cent.
The cost of office space per person on a consistent year-on-year basis was £4,602 in 2016-17, an increase of 0.3 per cent and the cost of office space per square metre was £467 - a 6 per cent increase on 2015-16.
However, because of reclassification of certain costs by two departments, additional costs were included for the first time and taking that effect into account the cost per person has increased by 6 per cent to £4,859 and cost per square metre by 11 per cent to £493.
The government continues to outperform the private sector in all performance metrics.