Transforming estates in a post-pandemic world Posted on: May 31st, 2021 The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a major shift in focus for the public sector. As local authorities develop plans to support the UK’s recovery, the role of estates transformation has become more significant than ever before. Back in 2018, the Cabinet Office launched its estate strategy, aiming to deliver the best possible public services, releasing surplus land for housing and boost growth across the UK. But the landscape has since changed dramatically, with the pandemic accelerating the need for a complete reassessment of long-term estate strategies that can factor in both the economy and the environment. So how can the public sector use its estates to drive efficiencies while stimulating much-needed economic and environmental growth? Reimagining the future By repurposing and commercialising estates, contracting authorities can generate revenue and vital cost saving efficiencies to fund the growing demand for their services and facilitate a strong economic recovery. In November 2020, the Office for National Statistics found that high street footfall fell 45 percent compared to the same period in 2019. This adds to an existing trend identified by the LGA that footfall had dropped over 10 percent in the last 7 years, with the recent dramatic increase in home working likely to impact high street areas even further. Despite the easing of lockdown restrictions, many UK employees are hoping to step away from traditional in-office working on a permanent basis. It seems that employers support this change: a CIPD study of 2,000 UK employers found that 63 percent plan a permanent shift to hybrid working. This mass shift to home working has also led the public sector to question if their office space is fit for purpose or whether a hybrid or home working model should be implemented in the future. While it’s important that public sector recovery plans support a healthy economic recovery, they must also build on decarbonisation commitments. As the government works to build the largest economic recovery packages in modern history, there is unprecedented potential for the nation to meet the UK’s national target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and work towards a new decarbonised future. Construction is being heralded as the cornerstone to achieving this target through home building, the repurposing of retail assets, utilising derelict land and holding effective office spaces, all of which will play a significant role in contributing to the net-zero goals and injecting opportunities into communities across the country. Now more than ever, contracting authorities must look to outcomes-based procurement processes that can prioritise social value and decarbonisation in all infrastructure and building projects. A unique procurement solution Bloom Procurement Services offer a comprehensive procurement solution for the public sector through their fully compliant open-access marketplace. With a proven track record in delivering estate transformation projects, the procurement specialist can help contracting authorities to maximise efficiencies in estate management and deliver, on average, savings of up to 19% against budget. As the delivery partner to the innovative NEPRO³ framework, Bloom offers a broad range of categories of spend across the built environment and estates transformation space, from Asset Management to Housing and Communities. Its dynamic marketplace contains experts in high street regeneration, achieving carbon net-zero and the repurposing of estates to deliver pound-for-pound value for the taxpayer. When utilising the Bloom marketplace, contracting authorities can benefit from a diverse range of architects, civil engineers, cost consultants and project managers, with the ability to work either remotely or on-site. These suppliers range from VCSEs and local SMEs to established organisations already doing business in the marketplace, ensuring that your organisation always has the right providers available to match even the most complex of requirements. If the supplier you are looking to work with is not currently accredited, Bloom can rapidly onboard them and make a direct award, giving you a compliant and efficient route to project delivery. As the nation restarts its engines, it’s crucial that public sector estate strategies can pair the UK’s economic recovery with its decarbonisation ambitions. Organisations must now commit to building long-term resilience through projects to ensure that the planet, and the people who live on it, can thrive in a post-pandemic world. If you’d like to discuss how Bloom can help your organisation deliver an effective estates transformation programme, contact their team today.