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Stewardship of property estates

Stewardship of property estates

26 March 2014

At a Cambridge University Land Society/ NHS Property Services (NHSPS) conference in November 2013, leading figures from the property world came together to present on the topic of ‘Developing a roadmap to cultural change: the stewardship of the NHS’s property portfolio’.

Adam Dakin, joint managing director of Telereal Trillium, was amongst the speakers and presented on the topic of “building a high-performing property team”.

Extracts from his presentation can be found below, and a report summarising the content shared on the day can be viewed here>>

Building a high-performing property team

“Getting out and understanding the market better helps teams to develop a stronger commercial edge”

Telereal Trillium is of comparable size to NHSPS, owning and managing some 8,500 properties totalling £5.5 billion by value. We work with some of the UK’s largest occupiers, including the Department for Work and Pensions, Aviva and DVLA, but of all our clients, the most relevant comparison to NHSPS is BT.

Between the late 1990s and early 2000s, BT started a journey that enabled it to build what was regarded as one of the best corporate property teams in the market. There were three key drivers of this transformation. The first was centralisation: BT moved from regional teams to a centralised property function, created a single property data source, consolidated its call centre, and rationalised processes. Centralisation delivered significant efficiencies and provided solid foundations for further changes.

The second driver was professionalisation. Instead of expecting to run its property function with general managers, BT went into the market to recruit specialists in property, capital projects and facilities management.

The third driver was structural. When Telereal acquired a majority of the BT estate in 2001, BT’s 350 person property team also transferred. Property moved from being a back office function within BT, to having a frontline role within a dedicated property company. Crucially, this team became closer to the market. Working competitively and collaboratively alongside other property professionals, and getting out and understanding the market better, helped the team to develop a stronger commercial edge.

Through centralisation, professionalisation and by becoming closer to the market, the BT property team has become more innovative, significantly rationalised the BT estate and driven cost reduction. NHSPS is well placed to follow a similar journey. You already have the benefit of being a separate organisation. There are also potential advantages from centralisation, for example by creating a single, improved property data source. You should challenge whether you have enough relevant expertise and ask how you are going to keep close to the market. The biggest challenge is timescales: after all, unlike BT, you are under pressure to do it all at once.