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Government backs pioneering property scheme

A pioneering scheme designed to save money for taxpayers and improve services is going to expand with Government backing.

The Government Property Unit has committed £256,000 to the ‘One Public Estate’ project in Staffordshire to work alongside the county council’s existing Penda Property Partnership to accelerate property plans and allow the county’s public sector organisations to explore how they can continue to bring services together.

The successful bid to the One Public state programme outlined the possibilities of public organisations across Staffordshire working together to rationalise public sector land and buildings to deliver more integrated services, such as the public sector hub in Newcastle, reduce running costs, generate revenue from property sales and stimulate economic growth.

Part of the money will be used to accelerate a number of existing programmes across Staffordshire including the public sector hub in Newcastle and the sale of vacated office buildings in Staffordshire, and investigate a range of other options including the potential co-location of some public services in Codsall.

Ian Parry, Deputy Leader of Staffordshire County Council and cabinet member for Finance and Corporate Matters, said:

The Penda joint venture was a pioneering initiative to make the best possible use of our land and buildings for taxpayers, whatever that may be.

By working together we can often achieve far greater savings and benefits than by working alone and now the Government is thinking along the same lines.

This funding will give us more capacity to work with not only district and borough councils, but all public organisations in the county to investigate how we can share buildings and save costs.

The aim is a more effective and efficient public estate in Staffordshire, with services that are easier to access and considerable benefits for the taxpayer.”