We were delighted to welcome David Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire to our REAL property seminar yesterday at Beale’s Hotel in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. ‘How does this relate to property?’ I hear you ask. In a nutshell: the County Council’s huge landholdings and their desire to collaborate even more closely with the private sector in the future.
Around 30 attendees from a range of local businesses in the commercial property sector listened to an entertaining presentation in which David explained how a more ‘mayoral’ style of government has been created in the UK over the last 30 years which is led to faster public sector decision making – David’s role is the model of this, and it is one that the private sector appreciates and understands.
David outlined that the County’s income is under pressure and that the County’s wealth of existing landholdings and property offer opportunities to create income, and if sold, the revenues need to be reinvested smartly rather than sit on the balance sheet doing nothing. Approaches such as ‘agile working’, common in the private sector, are now seen in the public sector, with the result that in some areas less physical office space is actually needed – David emphasised that it is the public sector’s responsibility to ensure that this real estate is used in a way that benefits local people, ensures crime can be fought and crime levels remain low, and generates income long into the future.
“More collaboration and cooperation with the private sector is welcomed by the public sector,” said David. However, he admitted that a lack of commerciality remains a real challenge – the public sector needs help with contracts and invites the private sector to come up with innovative ideas that will make use of long-term land and property holdings, help to get income flowing and to reduce reliance on central government funding.
“Surprise us, challenge us with innovative ideas!” was David’s final message. Serious food for thought for all who attended.
Keep your ear to the ground for the next REAL property seminar, a free event for property professionals in the North London and Hertfordshire areas or join the conversation on Twitter.