A scheme that is transforming the way Council buildings are used across Hampshire is making taxpayers’ money go further, cutting energy consumption, raising productivity and saving £2 million a year in running costs.
Hampshire County Council’s ‘Workstyle’ programme has already reduced the amount of office space by a third and more than £13million has been raised from the sale of the buildings no longer fit for purpose. All of this is being recycled into flexible, efficient buildings capable of accommodating more staff and creating better environments for the public to receive services.
A report to the Council’s Buildings, Land and Procurement Panel highlights the success of schemes where the public now have access to a variety of services in shared locations. There is closer front-line collaboration between those services, and also with colleagues in health, probation and other services in some buildings. Staff have flexible’drop in’ points that avoid them having to spend time travelling to other venues. These include:
- Elizabeth II Court, Winchester, where the successful refurbishment of the former dated Ashburton Court kick-started the Workstyle programme
- Havant Plaza, the first significant office colocation, where 330 County Council staff work alongside some 300 Havant Borough Council colleagues
- Rushmoor, where County Council Children’s and Adults services staff now share the Borough Council’s building in Farnborough
- Dame Mary Fagan House in Basingstoke, where staff are working in a flexible office, fostering closer collaboration between teams and services
- Totton; a new hub opened in Totton High Street in February, another location where the County Council is co-located with Southern Health Foundation Trust, as well as the Probation Service.
- Test Valley, where a new hub is being set up at Beech Hurst, the Borough Council’s headquarters in Andover. 80 staff will work alongside the borough’s staff, releasing a leased building in the town
- Fareham and Gosport – where a significant programme to bring services together is being planned.
Workstyle doesn’t end there. While the Council is on track with its plan to save over £230million through efficiencies and change since 2008, Government funding cuts are likely to continue for years to come so there’s no let up in the drive for doing things differently. The Workstyle approach is now being considered for operational service areas such as libraries, country parks, register offices and day centres, to see where there are synergies and opportunities to join-up with an increasing range of other public bodies and voluntary sector groups.
Councillor Mel Kendal, the Executive Member for Income and Capital Receipts, said: “The results demonstrate the success of Hampshire’s proactive approach to reshaping services and making assets work to their optimum capacity. Workstyle has already transformed the way office space is used, driving out millions of pounds in efficiencies and increasing our resilience in these challenging times for Local Government.“
“It’s also changing our working relationships with other public, private and voluntary bodies so that the public get better, joined up, more cost effective services in the right place at the right time. It’s making a major contribution to our savings targets, maintaining our strong financial position, and has helped us keep Council tax at the lowest level in the South East for the five years while delivering high quality services.“