In conversation with Janet Young
Janet Young is the Government Chief Property Officer and will be delivering an update on the Government Estate Strategy in her keynote session at the Public Sector Solutions Expo on 25th June 2019.
What’s the most exciting thing about working in government property?
The entirety of the public sector estate was valued at £423bn last year, with another £60bn under construction. What these huge numbers do is demonstrate the sheer diversity, range and scale of the estate we deal with in government property.
Depending on which bit of government you work in, you could find yourself working on anything from airports, to hospitals, to prisons, to zoos. I think having the opportunity to work on such a diverse portfolio means government property is an exciting place to be in the property industry!
What steps are you taking to further build the capacity and capability of the property profession across government?
As Government Chief Property Officer, I lead the Government Property Profession (GPP). There are over 3,000 property professionals who work in a variety of property focused roles to deliver an ambitious agenda.
We aim to develop a highly-skilled workforce where people are at the centre of all that we do. Here are some of the exciting initiatives we are currently working on:
- We are developing our apprenticeship and graduate schemes including new recruitment routes and schemes for candidates that may not have property-related degrees.
- We are designing a Career Framework which will show clear pathways in the profession, identify the technical and behavioural competencies that underlie core roles and link with Learning and Development.
- The Profession is broad, and it is important to create a sense of community across a diverse range of specialist areas. Earlier this year, we launched the Property Leaders Shadow Board to increase diversity of thought and opinion at senior governance level.
What do you see as the biggest challenge in relocating Civil Service roles and Public Bodies out of London and the South East of England?
Established within the Cabinet Office – the Places for Growth programme seeks to deliver the Government commitment to relocate Civil Service jobs and functions out of London and the South East.
The programme will help to address regional economic imbalances; strengthen the Union; tackle recruitment and retention issues in London; build sustainable career paths outside of London; and reduce cost. To achieve these aims, we must change our culture.
The change needs to be led by all, at all levels: from Ministers and Permanent Secretaries driving change, to teams holding each other to account in the day-to-day actions that comprise a culture shift. Working in the Civil Service does not have to mean working in Whitehall and by having a real UK-wide Civil Service present we will better reflect the people we serve.
What key milestones are on the horizon for the Government Estate Strategy in 2019?
The strategy is now in solid delivery mode, including:
- Government Hubs: Canary Wharf hub is now open – hosting 6,000 civil servants across eight different organisations. Thirteen other Phase 1 government hubs are being delivered as HMRC’s new regional centres. All new sites are now secured and 11 are under construction. Bristol and Belfast are due to open in 2019.
- Disposals of land for housing and generating income are being pushed through: this year we should achieve the target of £5bn in receipts by 2020, and we are also supporting councils through the Local Authority Land Release Fund.
- Places for Growth programme targets have been set for moving at least 1,000 during the period to 2022, with thousands more before 2030.
- One Public Estate in February announced £15 million to support over 100 projects to deliver land for 10,000 new homes and 15,000 new jobs over the next 5 years.
- New systems for property data management are being commissioned for central government this year. These will help support more data-driven decision-making.
- Capability and capacity improvements are expected for the Property Profession. We are committed to delivering 250 cross-government property apprenticeships and 100 graduate roles by 2022, while delivering a capability programme for existing property professional in the civil service.