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Developing a property plan

Developing a property plan requires making considerations for planning, engagement, and governance in order to deliver your agency's intended outcomes.

Align with wider planning processes

Property planning begins with strategic thinking and the long-term vision of how the agency expects to deliver its outcomes.

Your property plan should clearly align and integrate with agency or sector strategic processes such as:

  • strategic thinking and strategic intentions (for example, the agency's Statement of Intent)
  • long-term investment planning
  • medium-term planning (for example, a department’s four-year plan)
  • workforce planning, and
  • annual business planning.

Engage with stakeholders

It's important to engage the right people and areas of responsibility throughout the planning process. Integrate your organisational planning, property, finance, workforce and ICT teams early in the process and provide enough time for a thorough and high-quality planning process. Without understanding the wider organisation's plans, you'll be unlikely to deliver property options and solutions that support that direction. You need to allow for the current and future workforce, as well as available funds, in your plans.

You'll need to involve people from:

  • strategic and corporate planning – strategic thinking and outcomes planning that the property portfolio is supporting
  • service delivery – customer-centric strategy and channel planning, including how front of house areas need to support service delivery
  • infrastructure and asset management – any asset plans that interface or integrate with property planning
  • information and technology – management of ICT strategy and integrating workplace design with technology planning
  • financial and vote management – integrating property planning and budgeting within organisational budget and resource planning
  • human resource or workforce – management for workforce strategy and planning, the workforce the property portfolio needs to accommodate now and into the medium and long-term, and integrating workplace design with organisational culture and wellness programmes
  • health, safety and security – to ensure organisational security considerations and staff health and wellbeing are included in planning
  • risk management and internal audit – to ensure property planning is incorporated within organisational risk frameworks and internal audit is familiar with the property plan.

Portfolios of significant nationwide scale also count the Government Property Group (GPG) itself as a stakeholder, which should be considered when planning your engagement strategy.

Define the governance structure

Senior leadership (preferably second tier) should take clear accountability of the quality of strategic thinking and decision-making that underpins the property planning. Strategic planning should be integrated across long, medium and short-term views, connecting the individual components of the organisation together to create a clear direction and prioritisation.

Any plan should outline how your existing governance structure will support ongoing property management. If a robust governance structure already exists within the agency, you should make sure they are across all of your plans; if it doesn't, then you will need to make sure one is in place before moving forward. Effective governance structure is vital in developing a property plan that integrates with other processes in the agency, and can help you to identify any discrepancies between various plans.

Create and share a draft structure

Property plans should be made up of unique content, combined with material drawn from strategic planning, such as the Statement of Intent. Content from annual plans, and related functional planning such as workforce, ICT and service delivery, should also be included.

Ensure the plan is the right size for your organisation – the scope of the agency portfolio should reflect the scope of the property plan.

Map out:

  • key milestones and steps
  • investments needed during or between each of those steps.

Share your draft structure with us, as well as your internal and external stakeholders. We can advise you on accommodation projects, procurement of goods and services, and any support services that should be included in the details of the property plan.

Email the draft to the GPG team.

Check your thinking

Review previous plans

  1. Did previous property plans achieve their intended actions and outcomes? What lessons have we learnt?
  2. Were they effectively implemented? What evidence do we have?
  3. Did the planning process lead to well informed, timely and effective decisions?

Preparation process

  1. Do we clearly understand the underlying drivers for our services and how the property portfolio needs to support them?
  2. What is our capability and capacity for property planning?
  3. Do we clearly understand our underlying assumptions?

Drafting a plan

  1. Are we clear on our strategic priorities and objectives? How does the property plan support them?
  2. Have we described a clear and effective governance structure for property planning, decision-making and ongoing management?
  3. Do our systems have the available resources to support our most important objectives?
  4. Have we clearly described what we will achieve, the benefits, and how we will accurately measure these?
  5. Does our plan provide the right information (for example, investment priorities across the agency or sector aligned with strategic objectives and programme delivery in consideration of available resources) and support our capital sustainability?
  6. Do we have the capability and capacity to deliver the plan’s actions?

Reviewing the draft

  1. Are our strategic intentions clear and do they inform investments and planning?
  2. Do we understand our available planning options and the trade-offs involved with each, and have we shown why the chosen options are the most affordable? If the future appears unaffordable, have we assessed all options to close the affordability gap?
  3. Are we confident all relevant stakeholders are involved and will receive relevant, quality and timely communications during the process?
  4. Do our underlying assumptions still hold true after completing the draft process?

Develop the detailed plan

We recommend you manage the development of your plan as a project. The project should:

  1. include milestones, deliverables and any deadlines
  2. track progress
  3. manage risks.

Form a cross-functional working group tasked with putting together the plan. The roles and responsibilities of this team could be formalised in a terms of reference or short team charter.

Where to find help

The property consultancy services common capability contract provides a panel of consultants who have capability to assist agencies with property planning.

Consultants can be valuable to test thinking, and to bring good practice approaches and independent thinking to the planning process.

We don't recommend fully outsourcing property planning – it needs to be integrated with organisational thinking, culture, strategy and planning. This is best done by the property team, or individuals within the organisation who understand the wider strategy. This allows you to build internal relationships, incorporate existing governance structure, and encourage involvement in wider organisational processes.

Property consultancy services – New Zealand Government Procurement

We can provide mandated agencies with a space budgeting tool to assist with estimating their space requirements. The tool uses simple inputs like headcount to generate a high-level report on the space required, as well as the quantities of facilities and amenities.

We can also help with working out what type of property plan you need, or reviewing your draft plan.

If you need help, email the Government Property Group team.

Details to include in your property plan