Written evidence submitted by the Centre
of Expertise in Sustainable Procurement (CESP), Cabinet Office |
1.1 The Environmental Audit Committee have launched
a new inquiry on how sustainable development can be further embedded
in Government policy decision-making and operations, in the light
of the Government's decision to withdraw funding for the Sustainable
Development Commission (SDC).
1.2 The Committee is interested in receiving
written evidence that looks at the following themes of the inquiry:
- How can mechanisms to ensure the sustainability
of Government operations, procurement and policy-making be improved
and further embedded and mainstreamed across Government departments?
- How can governance arrangements for sustainable
development in Government be improved, and how can sustainability
reporting by Government departments be made more transparent and
- Was the SDC successful in fulfilling its remit?
Which aspects of its work have reached a natural end, or are otherwise
of less importance, and which remain of particular continuing
- In formulating a future architecture for sustainable
development in Government, how can it take on board wider developments
and initiatives (eg to develop "sustainability reporting"
in departments' accounts) and the contributions that other bodies
might make (e.g. Centre of Expertise in Sustainable Procurement)?
- How, without the assistance of the SDC, will
the Government be able to demonstrate that it is "the greenest
1.3 In support of these themes, the Committee
has asked the Centre of Expertise in Sustainable Procurement in
the Cabinet Office to provide written evidence on the reporting
process for the Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate
(SOGE) targets and its experiences in working with government
departments to support best practice in sustainable operations
- The role of the Chief Sustainability Officer
(CSO) and the Centre of Expertise in Sustainable Procurement (CESP)
is to provide challenge and support to departments in delivery
of their sustainability commitments.
- CSO and CESP are based in the Cabinet Office's
Efficiency and Reform Group to drive departmental delivery of
resource efficiency savings, provide transparency in performance,
and demonstrate government leadership on sustainable operations
- Performance management of government's own sustainability
and engagement with its supply chain are key aspects of a sustainable
development in government work programme.
- Government departments have made considerable
progress towards meeting their targets for Sustainable Operations
on the Government Estate and there are a range of examples of
departments demonstrating best practice in sustainability.
- The current priority for departments is delivery
of the Prime Ministers' commitment to reduce central government
carbon emissions by 10% by May 2011 and there is a comprehensive
programme of work underway across government.
3. THE CENTRE
3.1 In its response to the Sustainable Development
Commission's report on Sustainable Development in Government 2008,
the previous government established the post of Chief Sustainability
Officer (CSO) and a Centre of Expertise in Sustainable Procurement
(CESP), to provide leadership and support on sustainable operations
and procurement in government.
3.2 In April 2008, William Jordan was appointed
in the role of CSO with a small team (CESP) within the Office
of Government Commerce (OGC) (an Independent Office of the Treasury).
3.3 The role of the CSO and CESP is to provide
challenge and support to departments in delivery of their sustainability
- Driving improved performance across central Government,
providing targeted support and information to assist departments
in delivering their SOGE commitments and improving the timeliness,
accuracy and transparency of performance data.
- Facilitating greater co-ordination across Whitehall,
to encourage dissemination of leading practice, reduce duplication
and share lessons learned by holding regular practitioner forums
and master classes and developing case studies and guidance across
the community of sustainability practitioners in departments.
3.4 In their last report, published 22 July 2010,
the SDC stated:
"The SDC are encouraged by the work carried
out by CESP on the SOGE assessment thus far. The SDC is confident
that CESP's work will continue to improve the quality of information
provided by departments on all operations and procurement activities,
both on and off the formal estate. This is vital if Government
is to make the necessary, ambitious and urgent improvements needed
to lead by example on sustainability".
4. THE ROLE
4.1 In June 2010, CESP, along with the rest of
OGC, was moved to the Efficiency and Reform Group in the Cabinet
Office under a machinery of government change. The Cabinet Office
under Francis Maude, now has responsibility for driving efficiency
and reform, tackling waste, improving accountability and raising
professionalism across government.
4.2 The Cabinet Office Structural Reform Plan
includes two key objectives on sustainability:
4.7: Work with DECC and government departments
to improve energy efficiency. Develop a programme of action and
performance management regime to deliver 10% energy efficiency
improvements in Whitehall in 12 months; and
5.5: Work with DECC to introduce transparency
in energy use by government headquarter buildings. Mandate release
of data and publish online.
4.3 Sustainability provides opportunities to
deliver financial and resource efficiency savings, demonstrate
transparency and government leadership, and drive change in other
sectors. The role of the Cabinet Office is:
- Leading the operational delivery of the PM's
commitment for the Coalition Government to be the "greenest
- Driving the agenda on transparency in the environmental
performance of government by facilitating the release of departmental
and supplier data.
- Improving the sustainability of the supply base
so that government builds stronger relationships with its suppliers
and manages risk and cost effectively.
- Ensuring integration of efficiency and reform
with sustainability in government operations and procurement.
5.1 Performance management of government's own
sustainability and engagement with its supply chain are key aspects
of a sustainable development in government work programme (alongside
the broader challenge of embedding sustainability in policy development
which is led by Defra).
5.2 The current framework of SOGE targets and
commitments was set by the previous administration in 2006 and
is due to come to an end in 2010-11. It includes targets on reducing
carbon emissions, reducing water consumption, improving waste
and recycling rates The Government has confirmed that departments
should continue to work towards these targets. Defra is currently
considering proposals for defining and implementing the Government's
sustainable development objectives beyond 2010-11, and Cabinet
Office is working with Defra to develop an action plan to take
5.3 In 2009, CESP took over the responsibility
for collecting and reviewing departments' performance data from
the SDC. CESP works with departments to enhance the quality and
timeliness of this data and provides a vehicle for delivering
departmental performance improvements. This includes driving improved
performance management by moving departments from an annual reporting
cycle to quarterly reporting for carbon, waste and water and monthly
reporting for the Prime Minister's commitment to reduce carbon
emissions by 10% in 12 months.
5.4 The current SOGE reporting process:
- Departments report data on an annual basis through
the Electronic Property Information Mapping Service (e-PIMS).
Additionally departments submit reduction plans across all targets.
- CESP review this data and challenge departments
on its quality, accuracy, scope and validity. Individual departmental
plans are compiled into forecast trajectories for each target
- This information is compiled into an annual report
detailing each department's performance against target as well
as the pan-government performance which is then published online.
5.5 Key initiatives that CESP has implemented
to improve departmental reporting and delivery include:
- Reviewing and challenging departments' data to
ensure they are continuously improving its quality and applying
similar data standards across government.
- Enhancing e-PIMS so departments can report monthly
on the carbon, and quarterly on water and waste targets.
- Developing a performance "dashboard"
to provide departments with a mechanism for CESP and departments
to track in-year delivery and bring about improvements to departmental
- Working with departments to challenge the robustness
of their plans and sharing information across departments to identify
new projects that can improve performance.
- Improving the performance validation process
through our data standards work with the National Audit Office
and HM Treasury.
5.6 CESP is continuing to work with departments
on validating their performance data for 2009-10 (to be published
in December 2010). CESP will also work with departments over the
coming months to ensure they submit full performance data for
6. DELIVERY AND
6.1 The most recent performance data (published
in December 2009), shows that government departments are on track
to meet their headline targets:
6.2 The targets of the new administration represent
a step change in ambition and it is the responsibility of the
CSO and CESP to ensure departments respond. The current priorities
for departments are delivery of the Prime Minister's commitment
to reduce central government carbon emissions by 10% by May 2011
and to publish online the energy consumptions of their headquarter
buildings. Working with the Department for Energy and Climate
Change, Cabinet Office reports on the energy efficiency agenda
to a Ministerial Working Group (chaired by the Energy and Climate
Change Minister, Greg Barker).
6.3 The 10% commitment will be delivered through
a combination of staff behaviour change (such as switching off
computer monitors), estate management (decreasing space occupancy
per FTE), installation of new technology (such as voltage optimisation
equipment), greening ICT (such as moving to "thin client"
devices), and more active facilities management (reducing energy
consumption overnight and at weekends).
6.4 Cabinet Office and DECC are leading a joint
programme of work to deliver the Government's commitments on energy
efficiency. Key elements of this include:
- Each department has submitted plans to CESP setting
out the initiatives they will implement to meet their share of
the 10%. These plans indicate that Government should achieve the
commitment and reduce emissions by up to 13%.
- The CSO and CESP have challenged departments'
plans to ensure they are robust and comprehensive. We are now
monitoring progress on a monthly basis and challenging departments
to ensure they are on track with delivery.
- Real time energy displays have been installed
in 17 department HQ buildings and Number 10 under a programme
led by CESP. The data is being published online on departments'
websites to ensure transparency in the Government's energy consumption.
- The Prime Minister launched an energy saving
competition on 30 September to run throughout the month of October,
catalysing departments to compete with each other to reduce energy
use in their HQ buildings. The CSO, CESP and DECC are supporting
- CESP is sharing information on departments' plans
and key initiatives to ensure departments are achieving best practice
through practitioners and maximising the carbon reduction opportunities
- CESP is working with departments to reform their
facilities management contracts to ensure they getting better
value for money and capitalising on the opportunities to make
carbon and financial savings.
- CESP, working in partnership with the Carbon
Trust and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers
(CIBSE), has issued guidance to departments on best practice in
heating, cooling and lighting of their buildings.
Note: the scope of the 10% commitment covers the
office estate reported by the main departments under SOGE, with
the baseline defined as departments' emissions from their office
estate for the period May 2009 - May 2010.
15 October 2010