The Government Property Finder map allows users to search for property by location or government department, and to filter results to show, for example, property which is currently for sale or for let.
Under the ‘Right to Contest’ announced earlier this year, people will also be able to challenge whether land or property is being used effectively. Members of the public can question whether central government properties – whether vacant or occupied – are surplus to requirements and should be released for use by the private or third sectors.
Government departments are only able to reject these challenges if they can prove the property is vital for operational purposes, or that alternative considerations outweigh the potential for better economic use.
Launching the map, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: “Since the 2010 General Election we have got out of 1,250 properties, but we need to do more. We want the public to use this new map and the Right to Contest to challenge us to release properties we are not using efficiently enough to cut the deficit, support growth and provide more houses."
The 2013 spending review contained a commitment for central government to release £5bn worth of public land between 2015 and 2020, while local authorities are expected to realise £13.3bn in property sales between 2015 and 2018.
As well as the right to challenge, which also extends to vacant local authority properties, government hopes to facilitate the sale of public sector land through the One Public Estate programme, which brings together public sector bodies across particular locations to work out how they can get best value from their estates.
Read more: Making space for growth