e-PIMS delivers massive benefits across UK’s entire Central Civil Estate

e-PIMS case study 2016

Cabinet-Office screen resize

For over a decade the UK’s entire Central Civil estate and land assets have been managed using the Government’s electronic Property Information and Mapping Service (e-PIMS). e-PIMS is a location-based asset management system based on an Ordnance Survey GIS core.

The system provides easy access to maps, photos and detailed information, including tenure, property measurements, occupancy, utilization and environmental measures. It also holds floor plans to handle any estate planning or management need, from strategic estate rationalization and demolition to new build ‘hub’ sites and alternative accommodation sites for business continuity planning.

The Government Property Unit, a unit within The Cabinet Office, is the controller of e-PIMS. It is a central government department that determines and implements property asset management policy across the majority of the public sector organisations. Through e-PIMS its priorities are to support the delivery of:

  • The UK’s public sector £21.5bn annual property efficiency targets
  • £3bn saving in central Government procurement
  • Ongoing improvement in the success rate of mission critical projects.

And to support services that identify cost saving opportunities in the estate by:

  • creating an effective and efficient government estate
  • providing value for money for the taxpayer
  • disposing of surplus property in a way that maximises financial return
  • boosting growth and creating new homes

CDS have been the effective systems administrators and development partners for e-PIMS throughout its life

Every year, the Government issues a statement to Parliament on the state of its property and land assets.

In recent years it has highlighted some significant progress in optimizing this estate through better management and maximizing the value of property. It has been the envy of some private sector owner/occupier and property management organizations.

The data for this report is taken directly from e-PIMs. Key Benefits statements extracted from the most recent State of the Estate report:

  • Through the use of e-PIMS, in the past year the Government has saved £842 million by selling empty buildings and exiting expensive rentals. Since 2010, e-PIMS has supported the raising of £1.8 billion in capital receipts and reduced the size of the estate by nearly a quarter, exiting 2.4 million square meters of unneeded space – an area larger than the entire state of Monaco. All this has been achieved while cutting carbon emissions by 22%.
  • The utilisation of space by staff members fell to 10.4 square meters. This makes the UK government one of the most space-efficient major organisations in the world. A target of 8 square meters per person was set on 1 January 2016, and the Government is confident of meeting this target by the end of March 2018.
  • The independent National Audit Office has accredited the e-PIMS system with delivering more than £54 million in savings per annum at a cost of less than £2 million per annum. ROI is more than twenty times annual cost!
  • The typical UK civil servant now utilizes LESS space and thus less rent, heating and lighting costs than the typical private sector office employee. The situation is now completely reversed from when the service first launched (International Property Databank official and independently provided statistics).
  • In support of the EU directed Greening Government Commitment (GGC) – e-PIMS is also now the central platform for collecting electricity, carbon, waste and water data from the government estate – used to drive down these values, bringing about further social and environmental benefits to the UK.

The system has evolved far beyond a traditional Property Asset Management

The use cases for e-PIMS cover property strategy, management and operations – ranging from Parliamentary reporting (State of the Estate Report) to pan-government opportunities such as developing commuter hubs in the regions to vacate prime real estate in London, to simply managing the demand and supply of space. e.g. if a building can be rearranged to optimise use and offer vacant space to another public (or private) sector enterprise.

It has a powerful ‘what-if’ scenario planning solution so UK Government departments can assess the impact of increasing and reducing their estate footprint. Departments can register for space to receive alerts on initiatives that may meet their needs, including sharing opportunities – where two departments could merge their requirements to fill a larger available space at an appropriate lease break/renewal point. 

Outside the UK, e-PIMS plays the pivotal role in the UK’s support to the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE). The aim of INSPIRE is to facilitate better environmental policy across the EU. This will be achieved by:

  • improving the joining up of and access to existing spatial data across the European Union at a local, regional, national and international level;
  • facilitating improvements in the sharing of spatial data between public authorities; and
  • improving public access to spatial data

e-PIMS has been extended to incorporate a document repository, a flexible data integration solution, a powerful reporting dashboard and a customer satisfaction survey solution.

We believe e-PIMS is the largest single owner/occupier property data set under management in Europe, if not the world.

Some key system metrics

  • Headline Estate Footprint managed in e-PIMS: 278,848,390 square feet or 26million m2 of floor and land under management. That’s an area the size of 7,000 football pitches or the same total area managed by some mid-tier Global Property management agencies.
  • Headline Growth: At the beginning of the CDS management responsibility there were 8,846 government properties under management (not an insignificant number of itself). Today there are 192,597 properties in the system. Twenty-one times the number of properties, representing a growth in usage of a staggering 2170% in the period.
  • From the initial 25 central government departments, there are now nearly 1,000 separate UK government public bodies using the system. More than 3,000 property management personnel log into the system. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland use the service and beginning 2016/17 the local authorities in England have elected to join the platform, sparking a new phase in growth. As the system is web based, these additional users will join the platform, and increase the benefits created through using the system, with virtually no additional costs.
  • e-PIMS established the defacto Open Data standard for property data exchange (CECA) – allowing other 3rd party systems to interact with data.
Cabinet-Office screen 2 resize

The overall level of growth and ROI e-PIMS has achieved surpasses all predicted levels. With local authorities coming on board, ROI will further increase in the years ahead.

We have formed a singular “e-PIMS delivery team” across the cabinet office and CDS teams.

  • We use one set of management software tools.
  • Our teams log into a shared management platform and support desk service.
  • Support queries raised by end-users are escalated and managed across the contractual boundary with open book view to all parties of actions taken.
  • There is a monthly management meeting, quarterly steering group and bi-annual customer/end user group co-chaired by supplier and customer.
  • The commercial agreement is open book, with budgets agreed together based on outcome and benefit realisation business cases.
  • There is a contract improvement meeting held quarterly that focusses on issues and change, with contractual flexibility available to the customer based on change in usage and growth.
Cabinet-Office screen 3 resize

The service is delivered within a clearly defined, OJEU let framework contract with annual financial reviews carried out to Crown Commercial Service standards.

The service delivery itself is delivered within the following standards and frameworks:

  • Delivered by ITIL certified staff
  • Certified ISO 20000
  • Certified ISO 9001
  • All data and data management are ISO 27001 compliant

Every service element inclusive of service faults, service uptime, change management, release management, commercial engagement and customer satisfaction are delivered within contractually agreed SLAs with defined KPIs, with service credits for any SLA miss. Monthly reporting documents performance against KPIs. Any change or action required to improve performance is decided at the quarterly contractual.

Cabinet-Office screen 4 resize

There is a UK-wide e-PIMS User group that meets on a quarterly basis and is a valuable forum for sharing ideas and as a communication/training platform. Through this forum, the e-PIMS service is enhanced every year with a strong set of change control measures.

User experience design drives ease of use

The most significant changes of late have included a new User Experience (UX) look and feel and a new Tablet based reporting Dashboard application. Both innovations have been driven from structured user feedback that drives the following benefits:

  • Greater use of what exists – optimising all the functional areas and achieving greater utilisation of all apps.
  • Ease of use – time saved in operation
  • Actionable analytics – making the data and the technology do the work – presenting ‘did you knows’ and decision points.
  • To design services that are in line with legal, W3C and Government Digital Services (GDS) design and usability standards – ensuring all user types, browsers and disabilities are catered for.

Product innovation and entrepreneurship

Cabinet-Office screen 5 resize

Recent innovations to the team and process have included the following, all of which were not in the original contract or outsource mandate:

  • Supplier staff have worked onsite for extended periods within the client site as part of the client team.
  • Client staff work regularly on supplier site for joint working.
  • We have reformed service change entirely, to shift from Waterfall to Agile (British Computer Society accredited methodology) delivery.
  • We have, following the introduction of the Government Digital Service and the service design manual, redesigned the public facing user interface of the product to meet these new standards.
  • We have released new services in use today by the general public to enable anyone to view and contribute to the better use of the government estate.
  • We have delivered data to the UK government Open Data (data.gov) project to enable anybody to deliver additional services or applications to government or the public using the services this e-PIMS contract has delivered.

Contact for more information

For further information about CDS products and services, please visit www.cds.co.uk, call Paul Meersman on + 44 (0)800 138 4308 or email info@cds.co.uk.

Download pdf