11 December 2008 | Paul Snell
The Royal Household has increased value for money by improving the planning and management of maintenance projects and cutting costs in its occupied palaces.
According to a report by the National Audit Office, the household managed to reduce running costs by £400,000 in the past year, primarily by cutting down on the amount of energy used.
Energy accounts for around a third of the palaces' running costs at £2.2 million in 2007-08, a fall of around 12 per cent.
This reduction was attributed to the installation of combined heat and power units, which lowered consumption, and a three-year agreement to purchase gas and electricity on the wholesale market, which netted more competitive prices.
The occupied royal palaces include Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace, Windsor Castle, parts of Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Mews and the Home Park.
The property section of the Royal Household is responsible for their upkeep, and in 2007-2008 received £15 million of public money. This is roughly the same level of funding as in 2000-2001, a cut of 19 per cent in real terms.
The property section also exceeded its target to complete three-quarters of its projects within 5 per cent of the cost proposed in a tender. It also ran competitions for all of its maintenance contracts worth more than £25,000, worth £4.3 million.
Payment to suppliers within 30 days also improved, rising from 85 per cent to 91 per cent over the past year.
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