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08
Aug

Active approach to property management brings benefits


Northern Lincolnshire & Goole NHS Foundation Trust was a finalist in the 2019 HEFMA Awards, recognised for the work of its Trust Property Team. HEFMA finds out more. 

 

The Trust Property Team has taken one of the weakest areas of Estates operation for Northern Lincolnshire & Goole NHS Foundation Trust and turned it into one of the strongest. The team’s work has not only provided sound and sustainable, measurable improvement, but has also created a template for others to follow via NHS England / Improvement. 

 

Two years ago this Trust was in ‘double special measures’ with backlog maintenance of £81.5m. The Trust operates acute hospitals in Grimsby and Scunthorpe, a district general hospital in Goole and delivers community services across the region. In 2016, the Trust brought in a commercial specialist and re-shaped the Estates & Facilities Senior Management Team.

 

The estate challenge

The community estate in particular at Northern Lincolnshire & Goole NHS FT had evolved in an uncontrolled manner and required attention. Across the estate there were very few managed leases, licences or SLAs. Locally agreed co-location was rife, without agreements or charging regimes across both acute and community properties. Ad-hoc acquisition and local team moves had been happening in isolation with no overall control. There was no clear picture of health and safety compliance across the community estate. There was a lack of co-ordination in terms of financial planning and control of property spend from different divisions across the Trust. 

 

Action taken

The Trust Property Team moved from a ‘passive’ to an ‘active’ approach to property management. They built a comprehensive tracker for occupation and compliance assurance to support record keeping and sharing and became vigilant in obtaining live compliance assurance evidence. All community occupancy was categorised linked to levels of legal responsibility. 

 

The way financial transactions linked to property were planned and managed was completely overhauled and the spend was leveraged to improve safety. Every community asset was challenged against a set of criteria for safe and appropriate space and the team worked hard to rationalise the portfolio to improve safety and manage spend. 

 

Third party occupancies on the acute sites were mapped and prioritised for agreements, charging and updating. A commercial opportunities ‘pipeline’ was introduced to drive ‘leads’ through investigation to invoice. This helped to forecast CIP saving and income.

 

Results

The work of the Trust Property Team has brought positive results in improved efficiency, safety, revenue and savings.

 

The Trust’s community estate occupancies have been rationalised from 129 in November 2016 to 78 in October 2018 – a reduction of 40%. Compliance assurance evidence provision for the community estate has improved from just 4% in November 2016 to 80% in October 2018. In 2018/19 spend reduced to £865k from £1.1m in 2016/17 and the team delivered total CIP benefit through the same period of £610k.

 

This team has demonstrated openness to new ways of working and set a strong foundation for further development into the future.

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