One Public Estate (OPE) is a national initiative managed by central government to allow public sector organisations to rationalise their asset and estates management. Allowing them to kickstart regeneration and to transform public service delivery.
All local authorities have been able to bid for project funding to help the sharing of buildings and services with other public sector organisations.
The Somerset One Public Estate (OPE) Partnership is set up to pursue a range of exciting and innovative joint property projects across Somerset. These projects deliver efficiencies for partners and improvements to services, as well as to save expenditure for the public purse.
Why we need to do this
In 2014, an Audit Commission report estimated councils spent around 4% of all revenue on premises-related expenditure (running costs, repairing buildings and so on). The Government continues to reduce the annual funding it provides to local authorities. The One Public Estate Partnership contributes to Somerset Council’s vision by supporting one of the 4 key principles: a county where all partners actively work together for the benefit of our residents, communities and businesses, and the environment in which we all live.
The Somerset One Public Estate Partnership have adopted the following principles when reviewing opportunities to save money for Somerset residents:
- reducing the running costs of buildings we operate from
- sharing services
- generating capital receipts (one-off income) by selling property that is not needed
The One Public Estate Programme in Somerset started in October 2016. Successful pilots and examples of this type of partnership working in Somerset have been delivered at the Shape Mendip public services hub in Shepton Mallet, Bridgwater House in Bridgwater, and the Library Hub in Glastonbury.
Somerset One Public Estate Partnership
The public sector partners working together in the partnership are:
- Avon and Somerset Police
- Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
- Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
- Somerset Council
- South Western Ambulance Service
- Department for Work and Pensions (Jobcentre Plus)
The partnership board meets every 2 months to scope and initiate projects, and reports to the Local Government Association quarterly on progress with ongoing opportunities and projects. The partnership has most recently used Government funding to fund the development of a joint accommodation strategy for the council, police and NHS.