Thursday, 18 September 2014

Knowle relocation project: hot-desking: latest

The subject of 'hot-desking' has already been addressed in this blog:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: hot-desking

The EDA blog has raised the issue:
How many jobs at Skypark? | Sidmouth Independent News
So, what DO EDDC know these days? Not much … | East Devon Alliance

There is currently an FOI request with the District Council...
However, there are many questions still unanswered, especially as to the lack of clarity with regard to the terminology, although the concept of 'hot-desking' is well understood. 

> It seems that the planned move to Skypark is influencing the use of terms such as 'touchdown'.
> There is no information re the study and thought behind the strategy.
> It is not clear whether the numbers provided are for the current arrangement at Knowle or for the proposed new HQ.
> There are no specifications provided for the new buildings at Skypark.
> It is not clear what 'work/home or work/mobile' means in regard to 'flexible workers'.
> What exactly is a 'touchdown desk' and would it be a computer on the intranet? Are there not already some of these at other offices such as Exmouth? Are the workers 'touching down' at HQ or are they completely 'mobile'?
> What is the rate of office occupancy? How many staff need their own office and how many share?
> In other words, it is not clear how the District Council has come to the figure of 69 'touchdown desks' for 259 employees...

Hot-desking - a Freedom of Information request to East Devon District Council - WhatDoTheyKnow

There have been several studies and letters on the subject:
Energy performance at Knowle - an analysis - Letters - Sidmouth Herald

There is reference made in the EDDC Office Accommodation report to Cabinet of 17th July 2013.
The District Council's proposals for relocating from Knowle focus on calculations that fewer desks will be necessary in future (underlining added):

7.0 New Build Office Running Costs
7.1 Calculation of anticipated running costs of a new build office assumes the following:- 
2. The number of staff employed in the new facility will remain at the current level. It is understood desk spaces will be reduced to allow for modern working practices.
4.0.0 Office accommodation requirements
4.1.0 Engagement
4.1.6 The Corporate Organisational Development Manager is investigating the
potential for staff to work in more mobile and flexible ways. Work Smart is
the council’s name for its home, mobile and flexible working arrangements
for staff which will be developed through the Council’s management team
and subject to consultation with staff and fit with operational requirements. It
will involve more staff working away from the office or dividing their time between the office and another location. In doing so EDDC hopes to have a more flexible workforce and service delivery available and accessible to
customers around the district. More desks can be shared, storage space
reduced, communal and shared space more effectively provided and less traditional office space overall will be required. Initial staff survey work, Member requirements and office layout planning has resulted in an office
size projection that involves a mix of communal space, meeting space,
reception area, 250 desks and Council specific space such as the Council
Chamber itself. This leads to an overall total floor space of 3,352m2.
Further detailed operational and design work will be conducted to refine the
mix and usage of that space.

It is an idea which is being looked at over the border. But Somerset County Council have not felt the need to 'relocate' - rather, they have changed the 'layout' and done a bit of 'open plan hot-desking':

SOUTH SOMERSET: County making progress with money-saving office scheme

1st March 2013

PROGRESS is being made by Somerset County Council in plans to save millions of pounds by reducing its number of offices, as part of its “Smart Office” programme.

So far, the layout of three wings of B Block at County Hall, Taunton, have been changed to make more efficient use of the office space. This month saw senior managers and Cabinet members move out of individual offices, into an open plan hot-desking arrangement along with other staff.

Elsewhere, staff are sharing offices with West Somerset Council in Williton, enabling them to work more efficiently with the district in delivering services and generating a financial saving for the county council of around £11,000 per year. Most of the costs incurred so far have been on up-front investment in technology, with £113,749 spent on office furniture across a range of offices.

Cabinet Member for Resources, David Huxtable, said: “We are working to reduce our number of administrative offices from 33 down to five, which is expected to deliver revenue savings of approximately £900,000 per year from 2015/16 onwards. This is all about cutting back office costs so that we can focus budgets on the services that matter. To reduce spend on offices, we need to invest in furniture and technology solutions that allow our staff to work more flexibly and efficiently. This will enable them to deliver even better value to our local residents and work more closely with our partners.”

The full programme requires a total investment of £12.5million over a period of five years. £9.5million of this will be funded through money raised from selling off council property. The remainder will come from existing budgets, including ongoing budget to keep IT up-to-date.

View From Online - News from West Dorset, East Devon & South Somerset

The County Council has also considered it:

Devon County Council staff to 'hot-desk' to save millions

By Western Morning News | Posted: November 13, 2012

A multi-million pound saving scheme at Devon County Council could see its staff no longer guaranteed their own desks.

The authority wants to sell off 28 properties over five years to save more than £10m a year in running costs. Employees would have to share desks, work from non-council properties or from home, but no staff members would lose their jobs. The strategy will aim to deliver reductions of 29% in running costs and 35%in occupied floor space by 2017.

In a report the council said it needed to make the savings to meet "significant budget pressure". The report added: "A 'do nothing' option cannot be considered, as the costs of running and managing the property estate will need to be reduced significantly."

A Devon County Council spokesperson said: "By 2017 we want to reduce the occupied floor space of County Council buildings by 35%. We will be making better use of the space we have available by continuing to introduce more flexible working facilities which will allow any member of staff to work at any location. Some buildings will be surplus to requirements and we will look to dispose of these to provide revenue savings, reduce our carbon footprint, protect against rising energy costs, reduce our maintenance liability and generate money to fund capital projects across the county."

The council, which employs about 6,000 staff operating out of about 300 buildings around the county, is set to discuss the plans tomorrow. During the past three years, the council said it had disposed of nearly £10m worth of properties through improved use of existing buildings, co-location with other services and agencies, and identifying buildings surplus to its requirements.

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