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​​The details of a property plan

Property planning expands on the organisational strategic planning to provide functional-level detail.​

Property plans must have:

  • a thorough description of the portfolio and plan so people reading it can clearly understand what is intended to be delivered
  • how the property plan will support the workforce and service delivery intentions
  • how property planning is informed by available workplace strategy or principles
  • how the property portfolio’s budgeted capital and operating costs are integrated with organisational budget and resource planning and represent value for money
  • the property plan’s high level actions and key milestones along the plan timeline.

Property plans should have:

  • the risks, constraints, dependencies and assumptions the agency has applied during the planning and modelling (including procurement and market assumptions) and how these will be managed within its risk management framework
  • the specialist capabilities identified by the agency that cannot be resourced internally, and how the property team (itself or collaborating with an internal procurement team) plans on procuring these
  • the governance arrangements the agency has in place for its property planning and management
  • an overview of the required workplace change including how the change will be managed across the organisation and how it integrates with workforce and technology change.

Property plans will generally consist of a strategic element and an operational element. Sometimes these will opt to be combined in a single property plan, such as for smaller agencies with less complex portfolios. Sometimes larger agencies or ones with more complex portfolios will opt to publish separate strategic and operational property plans.

For larger agencies property planning will often need to integrate with other planning and strategy processes such as a workplace strategy, or a long-term asset management plan.

Regardless of whether opting to separate or combine, the content of each will generally be consistent with the strategic and operational descriptions below.

Strategic content

The strategic content of the property plan summarises the agency’s strategic thinking, intentions, goals and target outcomes. It provides summaries of other strategic plans which interface with property such as workforce, service delivery and ICT.

The strategic content outlines how property will support and align with these related strategies, and detail the resulting property requirements over the medium-to long-term.

This should provide a medium- to long-term view relevant to the agency. For smaller or less complex agencies with small property requirements this might only be a two to five year view that aligns with the medium-term planning. For larger or more complex agencies with more property requirements the strategy should be a longer-term view aligned with lease periods. Investment-intensive agencies need to include property and lease investments in their LTIP’s for Treasury with at least a 10 year view, and this should form a basis for property planning.

Operational content

The operational content translates the requirements provided in the strategic content into an action plan. This plan details the actions intended to be undertaken to support the property requirements.

The action plan should provide intended actions for the short- to medium-term, ie from current year to year four or five. It is anticipated for most agencies, the Government Property Portal (GPP) operated by GPG will provide the platform for the majority of operational plan data; for example site details, important lease dates, future intentions, etc. The detail of the operational content might be based on an extract of the agency’s data in GPP.

Functional leadership and cross-government

GPG is promoting more co-locations, integrated property requirements, and collaborative projects. Property plans should highlight where the agency is collaborating with others on their requirements and intended actions.

Property plans include detail specific to the agency the plan is applicable to. Where the agency is involved in cross-government property projects or is working with other agencies, this information should be included or referenced in the participating agencies’ property plans.

How to develop a property plan

Dealing with uncertainty

It is acknowledged that the level of planning uncertainty increases with time. The first two to four years are expected to be a well-defined journey, with an action plan clearly integrated with strategic and functional planning across the agency, as outlined under the ‘strategic content’ and ‘operational content’ headings above.

The medium-term view of up to four or five years focusses on allocating and managing resources to deliver specific outputs, such as those set out in department’s Four-year Plans, which contribute to achieving targeted long-term outcomes. Property requirements in this timeframe will be mostly well defined and assumptions understood.

After year five, it is accepted that plans will begin to be subject to more uncertainty and this will be reflected in the planning. Detail may not be available to project level and planning will likely be based on programme level information. The amount of assumptions applied in planning will increase, although the agency should still explain the assumptions used in the plan.

Investment-intensive agencies provide property investment information in their LTIPs beyond the five year timeframe, including leasehold property which commonly includes fixed terms for six, 12, 15 or even 18 years. Where detail becomes less certain, investment-intensive agencies must explain why uncertainty exists and what basis and assumptions are being applied to planning from that point.

Cost modelling and affordability

It should be clear how the agency has calculated the costs and affordability of the intentions detailed in the property plan within the next two to five years; how these costs have been applied within medium-term planning.

It is expected that costs include rental, operating expenses, repairs and maintenance, and cost of change (eg, cost to exit one site and costs to establish the new site, such as planning, lease, fit-out, make-good and relocation).

Property plans must be informed by business planning so the property requirements and actions are resourced, affordable and integrated with medium-term agency budget planning. Property plans must not be developed in isolation from the business, nor without integration into the agency’s budgeting and resource planning.

Impact of change and deviation from plan

Change is constant for any agency and the services needing to be delivered in the future have varying levels of uncertainty. It is accepted that property requirements can change and planning must include preparation for this change.

Property plans should recognise key agency processes, dependencies or milestones that could significantly impact on property requirements (eg, workforce, operating model or technology changes). Plans should also explain how property planning will stay engaged with these dependencies and processes to efficiently update property planning in the event of change.