Workspace strategy at heart of council efficiency plans

Councillors will be asked to support proposals for a radical overhaul of the council’s office estate when the Policy & Resources Committee meets today, Thursday September 15.

The proposals, if agreed, will reduce the number of offices and council facilities by 25% in the first two years, and a further 20% thereafter, generating almost a million pound of savings each year and delivering a high quality office estate focused on delivering excellent customer service.

The workspace strategy (Smart Provision of Accommodation and the Customer Experience) brings together office reductions, smarter working and improved customer service.

The plans include investing in larger offices like Gordon House in Inverurie and the development of a new office development in Peterhead.

This will enable the council to dispose of many smaller offices which are not fit for purpose, expensive to run or are currently leased by the council.

Discussions are continuing with public sector partners about co-locating to Woodhill House in Aberdeen, creating a central public sector hub, supporting the drive to deliver further savings across the public sector and creating more opportunities for joined-up thinking and cross-working.

Aberdeenshire Council will continue to implement its highly successful Worksmart scheme, where staff can work flexibly from any office, delivering significant reductions in commuting and business mileage, and taking services direct to customers.

This scheme has reduced the number of workspaces required and many individuals now share desks with colleagues or make use of hot desks which are located across Aberdeenshire.

The strategy also reflects the changing requirements of customers and focuses on providing a range of ways for the public to interact with council services; online, by telephone and through service points in all major towns.

Employees who are most likely to be affected by the proposals are being kept informed by their managers and a facilitation team has been established to support the smooth transition of new working arrangements and office moves.