Somerset secures funding for ambitious new property projects

Somerset has been awarded £177,500 boost for work to share services and buildings with public services partners.

The Somerset One Public Estate (OPE) partnership, made up of all of Somerset’s councils, police, fire and health services have successfully bid to central government and the Local Government Association (LGA). The partnership will now be able to pursue a range of exciting and innovative joint property projects across Somerset.

This pioneering initiative has been set-up to provide funding and support to councils who want to work in partnership with others to deliver ambitious property projects and to achieve better service delivery.

Successful pilots and examples of this type of partnership working have already taken place in Shape Mendip public services hub in Shepton Mallet, Bridgwater House and the newly opened Library Hub in Glastonbury.

The Somerset OPE partnership will now look for more opportunities for the partners to share building space to make it easier for people to access services and while reducing costs.

“We’re thrilled to be part of the One Public Estate Programme,” said Somerset County Council leader, John Osman. “We are already working closely with our public sector partners to find new and innovative ways to make better use of our buildings and deliver services in a more joined up way. This will give us the opportunity to develop this work further, which will help us all reduce building running and maintenance costs at a time when we need to make significant saving. “

The first locations to benefit from this project funding will include, Shepton Mallet, Yeovil, Bridgwater, Taunton and Chard. The Somerset OPE Partnership will be able to bid for further funding in the future for other projects.

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Note to editors

The national One Public Estate (OPE) Programme is an initiative managed by the Cabinet Office Government Property Unit (GPU) and Local Government Association (LGA) to provide support and funding to local authorities to deliver ambitious property focussed programmes in collaboration with central government departments and other public sector partners.

The origin of the Somerset OPE Programme comes from the successful submission of Somerset OPE Partnership’s bid to the Cabinet Office GPU and LGA in September 2016. Somerset’s bid was submitted by Somerset County Council on behalf of the Somerset OPE Partnership, which includes the following public sector partners:

  • Somerset County Council (Lead Authority)
  • Mendip District Council
  • South Somerset District Council
  • Taunton Deane Borough Council
  • Sedgemoor District Council
  • West Somerset Council
  • Avon and Somerset Police
  • Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
  • Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
  • Somerset Foundation Trust
  • South Western Ambulance Service
  • Job Centre Plus

In September 2016 the Somerset OPE partnership was informed that they had been successful in securing £177,500 of grant funding for 2016/17.

Somerset’s bid had a focus on the following:

  • Creating and expanding customer hubs for local public sector and third sector partners
  • Creating and expanding back office hubs for local public sector and third sector partners
  • Creating business incubator hubs
  • Regenerating the surplus public estate

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