Monday, 1 July 2013

Lords caught short on strategic asset management and procurement

Yesterday I discussed Ennis' toilets. It wasn't my intention to return to the subject of WCs so quickly, however, that was before I learnt of the pressing need for the refurbishment of toilets in the Palace of Westminster. Once again two toilets are the focus and this time at a budget cost of £100k.

Don't get me wrong, I believe the toilets should be refurbished in keeping with the historic nature of the building but not necessarily now. I question is the strategy.

If I am right there is currently a discussion taking place on the wider options for renovating the Houses of Parliament. It seems very strange to treat the toilet renovation discretely and procure the renovation prior to the wider appraisal of renovation options. This decision does not appear remotely helpful for those who recognise the need for a strategic approach to investment plans and asset management.  I'm not saying it will happen, but what if £100k is spent on renovating the toilets and then, as a result of the wider renovation, they are trashed? What if the wider renovation decides a overhaul of the plumbing is required, will that be more expensive as a result of trying to avoid damage to the separately restored loos?

This renovation could have been an exemplar to the many public sector bodies who manage the UKs portfolio of historic, iconic municipal buildings, sadly, it seems that opportunity may be missed.

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