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The Reported Problems Facing the Ministry of Defence are Far From Unique says Kykloud CTO Nick Graham

The state of the Ministry of Defence’s property portfolio may have hit the headlines in recent days http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37978589 and whilst this undoubtedly provides huge cause for concern, the MOD is certainly not alone when it comes to struggling to effectively manage its large estate.

Reports that parts of Buckingham Palace and other areas of the Royal Estates are crumbling were making the headlines this time last year.  Likewise we are getting used to reading regular news stories about the poor state of the nation’s education estate or of hospital trusts who are failing to maintain appropriate standards across their portfolios.

Whilst these stories make for headline grabbing news items and indeed are of genuine public interest, we know from our experience of working with government department’s such as the Department of Education as well as private sector operators both here and abroad, that managing large scale property portfolios is no easy task.  Often faced with increasing budget pressures, operators and property owners are faced with an uphill struggle when managing ageing estates.

The problem is that until now it has been pretty difficult for people responsible for managing such vast estates to ever have a real clear picture of the condition of their estates and have access to easy to use data that will therefore allow them to plan repair and maintenance effectively.  Whilst the news headlines would suggest that these large government departments and organisations have simply blatantly miss-managed their estates, this doesn’t really reflect the true picture.

All large estate owners share the same problem of being able to extract data from their estates to provide them with a real understanding of their ongoing condition and therefore being able to accurately budget and procure appropriate services within suitable timescales.

And such operators are genuinely looking at how they resolve these issues.  Take our own recent news that we have been chosen to deliver the IT solution for the most comprehensive condition data collection exercise planned by the Education Funding Agency – one of the largest ever undertaken in the UK public sector.  Our software will support the delivery of the Education Funding Agency’s planned Condition Data Collection (CDC) Programme which aims to survey around 22,000 schools in England over the next three years.

No small feat in any shape or form and goes to show just how such organisations really do want to understand and manage their huge estates more efficiently.  The Property Data Survey Programme (PDSP) surveyed the building condition of the school estate in England from 2012-2014, resulting in an investment of more than £17bn in the education estate in England.  And now the CDC Programme is due to start any day and will build upon this success and help the Department of Education and Education Funding Agency (EFA) to better target funding where it is needed in the future.

And the Department of Education is not unique; we are in discussions with a number of government departments and private landlords who are looking at ways to improve the way in which they manage their property portfolios and get a better understanding of the situation in order to plan, budget and carry out necessary repairs.

A huge challenge, but one which Kykloud is helping more and more organisations to successfully tackle.