2 Better management information
6. The Department will be unable to implement
its estate strategy successfully without good, robust management
information and yet it appears to have been operating in an information
vacuum. The Department
does not have some of the basic information needed to manage its
business such as comprehensive figures on the number of staff
from other organisations using the estate, how much money the
Department has charged these other organisations for sharing its
property, and how this amount has changed over time. The Department
does not have accurate data for all of its properties on space
and use. The lack of information meant it could not assess whether
co-location was successful and whether there was scope to extend
the use of the Department's properties by other organisations.
7. The Department's management information system,
Pyramid, was designed to record estate information and performance
data, but much of the data it generates is incomplete and of poor
quality. Furthermore, the system is not updated regularly. Of
the 188 locations who responded to the National Audit Office's
(NAO) survey, almost a third did not use the database and in most
locations the NAO visited, the system was only updated twice a
year. A number of records, such as details of office space, were
inaccurate and incomplete and had not been updated since 2006.
The Department agreed that this was unacceptable, and confirmed
that it had an action plan in place to achieve 100% returns from
database users so that it had a complete and accurate picture
of usage of space across the estate.
8. The Department agreed that its management
information and estate data were poor and that it needed to do
more to ensure it was collecting the right data consistently across
the estate. The Department assured the Committee that work was
in hand to fill in the gaps in the data set and to collect the
additional information needed for the new Estates Director to
do his job, and that it hoped to be able to report a much improved
picture in 18 months time.
9. The Department did not have the data it required
to be able to show the average space per employee and the cost,
compared to other government departments. The Department agreed
that while not mandatory, it should collect data in line with
the key requirements set out by the Office of Government Commerce
for UK government buildings, so that it could demonstrate how
its estate performance compared to the guidelines, and identify
what it needed to do to improve.
The Department was not surprised that it did not fall within the
Office of Government Commerce guidelines on space per person as
the nature of its buildings and the additional space for business
requirements, such as diplomatic functions or interviews, meant
that its offices were not directly comparable to typical government
buildings in the UK.
However, it accepted that it needed to drive down the unnecessary
space that it has in properties around the world.
In 71% of the Department's overseas properties for which data
was available, the average space per person exceeded the current
aspiration for domestic central government offices (12m2)
by over 50%.
13 Qq 6 and 30 Back
Qq 30 and 70; C&AG's Report, para 5.4 Back
Q 70; C&AG's Report, para 3.2 Back
Q 70 Back
Qq 6-7, 30 and 109 Back
Q 5 Back
Q 5 Back
Q 109 Back
C&AG's Report, para 3.4 Back