The London Estates Board has recently moved into phase II of its operation. This marks an important milestone in the journey to transform the NHS estate in London.
London’s health and care estate faces quality and utilisation challenges of a scale unparalleled elsewhere in the country. However, there are also significant opportunities to realise better value from this estate. The London Estates Board brings together organisations from across health and care with some key shared aims. It aims to make vast improvements in the way NHS buildings and land are used and where these are surplus to requirements to release money to reinvest in London’s health and care system.
The London Estates Board was formed in December 2016. It is supported by a London Estates Delivery Unit, which brings together the collective technical and professional expertise of constituent organisations across London. Both the board and the delivery unit bring together organisations from London and central organisations, including the Department of Health and HM Treasury. The work of the board was referenced in the Government’s recent response to the Naylor Review and London will continue to work closely with central government and the Department of Health property companies going forward.
During the phase I, the board and the delivery unit enabled a wider partnership approach to estate. For example, both have been instrumental in supporting investment into health through the One Public Estate programme – a national programme that focuses on getting more from the public sector’s collective assets.
Since the start of the estates devolution work, almost £1 million has been invested directly into health projects in London by One Public Estate. This represents almost 40% of One Public Estate’s public sector investment in London. The Mayor has also earmarked an £250m fund to enable City Hall to unlock and accelerate stalled sites and deliver homes. While the Greater London Authority (GLA) develops its investment strategy, the delivery unit is working closely with the GLA to determine if and how this money could best be used to support NHS schemes.
Moving into phase II, the board will focus on supporting local and sub-regional areas to develop clear estates strategies. The development of these strategies is predicated on a coherent health and care strategy that requires wider system engagement and support.
The board will bring local and sub-regional plans together in a London-wide plan. This will enable partners to ensure that all opportunities are captured. This needs to be achieved for London to fully take advantage of the opportunities in the London Health and Care Devolution Memorandum of Understanding. For example, the plan will enable London to start taking more investment decisions which would currently be taken nationally. It is also a crucial step to enable us to retain capital receipts from sales in London for reinvestment into health and care.