Mark Drakeford AM, Cabinet Secretary for Finance
The Welsh Government’s 10th annual State of the Estate report, which sets out the efficiency and environmental performance of the administrative estate in 2017-18, is published today.
We continue to operate in the long shadow of austerity cast by the UK Government’s policies – the longest period in living memory. By the end of the decade, the Welsh Government will have seen a real-terms fall in day-to-day spending on public services of 5%.
The administrative estate is one of the areas where improving efficiency and effectiveness can improve productivity and create savings to support the delivery of better services and ultimately a more prosperous Wales.
The Location Strategy (2015-20) makes a commitment to spread the Welsh Government’s presence throughout Wales to support these goals and to ensure local communities have access to government services and jobs. We remain committed to this core principle and have recently opened new offices in Caernarfon.
The Welsh Government now has large modern offices in Merthyr Tydfil, Bedwas, Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Swansea, Caernarfon, Llandudno Junction, and Cardiff. There are no plans in the medium term to change these locations; however we will be reviewing options for the future in Powys and the South Wales Valleys.
The environmental performance of the estate continues to improve. We achieved a 36.7% reduction in the volume of waste produced and 88% of waste was recycled; carbon emissions have reduced by a further 14.1% and water consumption has fallen by 11.28%.
Further reductions in the size of the estate and the introduction of biomass at Rhyd-y-Car, Merthyr Tydfil demonstrates our continuing commitment to improving resource efficiency further and environmental sustainability into the future.
There have been a number of challenges in 2017-18. While we have reduced the overall number of properties and the size of the estate, it has not been sufficient to off-set an overall increase in running costs. These rising costs have had an adverse effect on our cost efficiency measures.
The Welsh Government estate average cost was £230.02 per square metre as at 31 March 2018 and £3,576 per full time employee. This is less than the available comparable figures for the UK Government and Scottish Government.
Offices already vacated during the 2018-19 financial year will reduce the size of the estate by 2,750 square metres, saving a further £632,555 per annum at current costs. We will have realised savings for those properties vacated between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2018 of approximately £2.4m by 31 March 2020.
The State of the Estate report includes examples of how the public sector is co-locating services and organisations within the administrative estate to help meet the current financial challenges.
This aligns with the work of the National Assets Working Group, which influences collaborative asset management across the public sector and takes a place- based approach to make the best use of our collective resources.
The National Assets Working Group is being rebranded as ‘Ystadau Cymru’, reflecting its broad remit.
The State of the Estate annual report is available at http://gov.wales/about/civilservice/how-we-work/facts-figures/our-buildings/?lang=en