Pilot scheme to cut costs

Sorby House
Sorby House
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Sheffield has been chosen as a pilot for a scheme where councils will work with the Government and other public sector organisations to share buildings and re-use or release surplus properties.

The aim is to deliver savings and encourage redevelopment in the city.

Sheffield has been chosen as one of 12 pilot areas in the country, where, rather than central government deciding where its departments should be based or whether to sell a building off, local knowledge will be used to decide whether it would work to share buildings instead to encourage regeneration and growth.

In Sheffield, two buildings are already being shared by the Government and local agencies – Moorfoot on The Moor and Sorby House in Burngreave.

Chloe Smith, Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office, said: “I wanted to see first hand the pioneering work public services are doing locally to get the most out of their buildings.

“Millions of pounds can be wasted by services using expensive buildings when there’s a half-empty property down the road – that’s taxpayers’ money which could be used in so many other ways.

“This policy will save money – but also promote growth and bring jobs.

“In central government, we’re working hard to ensure the taxpayer does not have to pay for empty buildings.

“Already, we’ve raised more than £1 billion nationally by getting departments to work together and use property more efficiently.

“It’s great to see local authorities making such good progress, by thinking in new ways about property issues.”

Sir Merrick Cockell, Local Government Association chairman, said: “Local Government has long been acknowledged as the most efficient part of the public sector.

“These pilots are a fantastic chance to build on that reputation and work with our partners in other public agencies to save taxpayers money, boost economic growth and make it easier for people to access services.

“By improving cooperation between central and local government we can save money through the more efficient use of public assets.”