Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

Property Services Value for Money Exercise 2020

We are often asked questions such as:-
  • “Have we got enough staff resources for strategic asset management?”
  • “How do our salaries compare with other authorities?”
  • “Is our maintenance spend compared to maintenance need realistic?”
  • “What are other authorities doing in terms of Asset Databases?”

The CIPFA Property Services Value for Money benchmarking exercise is relaunching for 2020 and provides information for all these questions. The service offers a unique opportunity to examine value for money in relation to the management and delivery of property services for local authorities and blue light services. 

It covers the full spectrum of property related activity including strategic asset management, estate management functions, projects, maintenance and the management of investment property.


CIPFA Property has been undertaking a value for money benchmarking exercise of property services since 2012. The outcome of the exercise is an essential 120+ page report complete with over 100 graphs and charts highlighting significant areas of property services related staffing, financial and comparative performance.

Many authorities are regular contributors to the exercise, citing it as critical in demonstrating their own value for money, service effectiveness, or even arguing for greater resources. As such, over the summer we will be undertaking another exercise focusing on the 2019/20 financial year, and are inviting all local authorities and blue light services across the UK to join up.

What will it entail?

If you participate, you will receive an initial briefing document and spreadsheet that will outline the areas of information that will be required, together with an explanation of the process that will be undertaken.

This will be followed by a Skype call or onsite visit from one of our team who will go through the information with you and validate it to ensure there is consistency in the approach across all organisations in order to enable effective benchmarking. Please note – If you are unable to provide comprehensive information across all categories this doesn’t mean you can’t participate. We will just encourage and work with you to provide the information you can.

Once the data has been validated you will be provided with a copy of the draft report in order to clarify any anomalies that become apparent and make sure you are happy with the final contents.

Following confirmation of data by each authority, a final report will be issued with graphs and spreadsheets showing how you perform against the other authorities based on a range of information. Your specific authority will be given a reference number or letter so that you can remain anonymous if you wish to do so. The majority of indicators will include averages for participants, 1st and 3rd Quartile performance as well as trend analysis.

The cost

  • £950 plus VAT for members of the SAN (Strategic Assets Network) or PTN (Property Training Network)
  • £1,250 plus VAT for non-members of the SAN (Strategic Assets Network) or PTN (Property Training Network).

The timescale

We hope to undertake the validation work in July, August and September with a final report issued in November 2020; the deadline to let us know you wish to participate is 30 April 2020.

What you will get

The final report will show a number of value for money service indicators which will be broken down into several construction and property areas, as follows:

  • general information
  • strategic asset management
  • management of data, asset management software, terrier etc.
  • general estates management functions
  • property valuations
  • design and construction, including project management
  • condition surveys
  • management of maintenance including compliance
  • energy management
  • management of investment property.

Frequently asked questions

To help you to better understand the process, the following questions and answers will provide clarification on some of the key issues people raise.

Q:  What if one of the service areas is outsourced?

A:  No problem – we will record both in-house and external costs and compare the overall costs against the various service delivery approaches adopted by participating authorities.

Q:  More than one of the service areas are carried out by the same staff – how will their costs be broken down between areas?

A:  Through discussion, we will apportion staff time across different professional work areas as accurately as possible.

Q:  What internal resources will be required from us?

A:  Unlike most benchmarking exercises, we will be working with you to ensure the data you provide is collated consistently to enable comparison with other authorities. You will however have to collate and provide the base information which should be readily available, but you will be advised what information is required beforehand to give you sufficient time to collate it. 

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