The government has responded to the Select Committee’s claims that The Insolvency Service is holding on to an obese property portfolio which is now 33% too large for its current needs.
In its response, the government stressed that: “There remain other significant legacy issues, for example surplus office space. These are being tackled.”
It agreed the need for timely decisions and implementation of office relocations. It also acknowledges the need to maintain current service levels within a rationalised estate.
It agreed that it has an estates footprint that is about a third too large for its current needs and confirmed that this leads to a “relatively high fixed cost base.”
To resolve this, the government said: “Further estate rationalisation is likely. Developing the detail forms part of the Agency’s Plan for the 2013/14 financial year.
“Relocation decisions are not taken lightly. They take into account customer and employee impacts, the requirement to make best use of government estate, and the agency’s strategic as well as financial needs.
“The assessment also considers operational risk and the need to maintain or improve existing levels of service. Where significant change is proposed, the agency engages with those groups of people affected and seeks to mitigate impacts.
“As part of rationalising its estates, The Insolvency Service is developing its use of remote interviewing facilities. These are not staffed offices but facilities in wider government buildings that can be used for the purpose of local interviews. From the perspective of an interviewee, replacing an office with an interview facility results in little change from current service levels.”
The response was in reaction to claims that the Select Committee had concerns over the size of the estate and property assets of The Insolvency Service, which could lead to detrimental performances.
The report said there was a “need for timely decisions and implementation of office relocations. The agency has an estates footprint that is about a third too large for its current needs.”