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A Smarter Way for Local Authorities

Managing change and delivering savings at Calderdale Council

Calderdale Council are amidst a significant amount of change across the estate and the delivery of services. The Halifax Town Centre Office Strategy identified that the current estate is spread over a number of disparate locations and would be more efficient if rationalised from eleven properties to four.

In order to do this a change in ways of working, behaviours and organisational values was needed. The creation of the Smarter Working Policy initiated the changes required. The Policy analysed working patterns and presented a solution for how the rationalisation could be achieved including the use of hot-desking, improved meeting facilities and breakout areas and rationalisation of storage.

Buro Four managed the development of the Smarter Working Policy and the subsequent fit-out of Westgate House and The Princess Buildings; the largest two of the four new office spaces.

Calderdale Council’s office space was historically very cellular so the task to make the change to a much different culture was not to be underestimated. We worked closely with the Council and architects Plus3 to interrogate working requirements, identifying user profiles including hub, mobile, field and home workers and providing solutions for how each of these profiles can be sufficiently supported. The Policy explains how staff can work to become more flexible and increase occupancy of the offices.

In addition to the SWP, we managed the development of a Corporate Standards document. This ‘design guide’ sets out how the buildings will be designed, including operational briefs, in order to support the Smarter Ways of working. It focuses on providing a variety of work settings for staff, allowing them to move away from their desks for different tasks. This flexible approach helps increase the staff to desk ratio, improving the overall occupancy of the buildings and enables organisational collaboration.

It has been an exciting process to help take Calderdale Council on this journey and begin to see successful results. The completion of the first office refurbishment, Westgate House, sees over 400 staff relocate and begin to work in a much more collaborative way.

We are now in the tender process for The Princess Buildings, the biggest of the four new offices and the most challenging in terms of delivery due to the Grade II listed nature of the buildings and the location within a constrained site. Extensive stakeholder management and logistics planning has been an essential part of this project.

Joanne Gott, Programme Manager at Calderdale Council says “The Smarter Working Policy and Corporate Standards document provided the foundations to  deliver of our town centre office strategy. Buro Four brought invaluable expertise to develop a cohesive plan and provide a platform for our workforce to embrace and transition to a modern working style. Without Buro Four, the well planned and thought out vision would not have been achieved”