Mark Drakeford, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government
This statement announces the publication of the Welsh Government’s eighth annual ‘State of the Estate’ report, which details the efficiency and environmental performance of the Welsh Government’s administrative estate over the financial year 2015/16.
As highlighted in our 2017-18 draft budget announcement, the Welsh Government is continuing to operate against a backdrop of financial constraint as a result of the UK Government’s ongoing programme of austerity and there is no respite on the horizon. This means that we must demonstrate we are making the very best use of all our resources, particularly those buildings and offices on our administrative estate.
Our estate continues to perform well in terms of efficiency, and over the past year our drive to reduce costs has delivered continued success. This progress remains a key aim and stretching challenge in the current financial environment. The State of the Estate report demonstrates that we have continued to improve the quality and efficiency of the estate whilst remaining flexible and responsive to future changes in requirements.
Over 2015/16 we have:
- reduced the number of properties occupied by 12%;
- reduced the cost of the estate from £18.14 million to £17.43million;
- reduced our carbon emissions by 18% to 6,939t CO2.
The 2015-20 Location Strategy programme provides the strategic vision for the estate. The rationalisation proposals have the potential to deliver savings of approximately £3.46 million together with annual running cost savings of £2.52 million from 2020. The Strategy also maintains our commitment to a presence across Wales in terms of locations and functions, ensuring an appropriate, dispersed government presence and contributing economic benefits through distributed employment.
This year’s report highlights the significant success we have enjoyed in reducing our impact on the environment. Our Carbon Reduction Strategy has delivered a very significant 45% reduction in carbon emissions since 2010/11; and we have realised an 18% saving in this year alone. Our multi-strand approach of undertaking a wide range of activities targeted at reducing our impact on the environment has been particularly successful and will continue to contribute towards further efficiencies in the coming years. Continuing to reduce our environmental impact remains a key priority and we will persevere in our drive to embed sustainable practices across the estate whilst striving for further reductions.
The Strategy demands that we optimise the efficiency of our estate and reduce our operating costs. These actions will help the organisation manage within future budgets and allow us to direct resource where it is most needed; to the delivery of front-line objectives aimed at creating a better, more prosperous Wales.