5. Looking Forward
Where offices are held on leasehold, they offer opportunities for flexibility when the lease ends or a tenant lease break option occurs. For example, the lease of Pentland House, Edinburgh expired in December 2017, and the building was vacated. As existing leases mature and operational delivery requires new properties in the future, the opportunity to absorb contemporary offices with more recent integral, sustainable and efficient facilities arises, alongside the potential for improvements in delivery of services to the public through co-locations and collaborative working with public bodies.
Vacant space arising in the owned estate is normally offered for sale in accordance with the Scottish Public Finance Manual. Alternatively it can be transferred to another government body that requires space such as at Thistle House, Edinburgh which was transferred to the Scottish Legal Aid Board in 2014-15. Where vacant space arises in either leased or owned accommodation, efforts are made to backfill with other public sector bodies, delivering savings to the public purse overall in allowing other public bodies to relinquish leases. In addition, co-location in this manner increases opportunities for collaboration and efficiencies and reduces the running costs of the core Scottish Government estate.
Scottish Government will continue to ensure an efficient and sustainable approach is taken to acquiring any new properties across the public sector, including in the formation of new bodies such as Social Security Scotland. We are leading and supporting public bodies to deliver benefits to one public purse overall, using co-location, collaboration and shared service offerings.
Technological changes over the years of these reports, such as more compact IT equipment, video-conferencing, electronic records storage, telephone numbers which travel with the user and hand held devices all contribute to reducing the demands for space and, as the KPIs show, this investment is bearing fruit.
A second phase of the Smarter Workplaces Programme is being developed which will have an increased focus on accommodation outside of the larger cities. While identifying efficiencies it will seek out more effective use of buildings, including co-location opportunities with the wider public sector.
The Scottish Government and its agencies remain committed to a more economical, efficient and sustainable civil estate. Scottish Government is continuing to deliver improvements across the central public sector estate using accommodation and property changes together with enabling technologies to implement better ways of working and delivering services.
In 2019-20, the focus will be on determining optimal building requirements for the future as current leases mature. Scottish Government are also on track to meet the carbon emission reduction target in our Carbon Management Plan and work will continue to meet the target of a 30% reduction by April 2020.
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