Vacated properties save city council cash

Birmingham City Council has achieved savings of nearly £3million in the last 12 months through its innovative Working for the Future programme.

The savings have been delivered as part of a programme of vacating leased buildings that were occupied by back office council departments. These include major city centre leased buildings like Alpha Tower, 1 Victoria Square and 7/8, Waterloo Street together with a number of buildings in suburban areas.

Vacating these buildings means ending expensive leases and reducing ongoing property costs. The result is that in future years a full 12 month benefit of £3.843million of taxpayer’s money will be saved every year.

Overall the Working for the Future programme, a pivotal branch of the council’s Business Transformation scheme, will create savings of £100milllion over 25 years through consolidating the council’s office portfolio and creating improved, sustainable and more efficient workspace.

It will lead to an improvement in the delivery of council services to citizens, and is being done by vacating buildings with expensive leases, reducing the amount of office space used, improving retained buildings and developing new sites, all of which will ultimately help to reduce costs. 

Cllr Randal Brew, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “Vacating buildings with expensive leases and providing staff with a modern working environment shows that the council is committed to operating in smarter ways.

“We are saving money, as we always said we would, which is fantastic for the taxpayer in these tough times.

“But even better still we are equipping staff with a more pleasant working environment in which they can deliver better services for citizens.”

Employees previously based in these offices have moved to the recently completed Lifford House, Stirchley, and 1 Lancaster Circus in central Birmingham, which accommodate approximately 650 and 2,000 employees respectively.

Another part of the Working for the Future programme is the construction of office space for 2,300 council employees at Woodcock Street in Aston, which has been awarded demonstration status by the West Midlands Centre for Constructing Excellence in recognition of the innovative and sustainable construction methods used. This is due for completion in autumn 2011.

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Business Transformation is Birmingham City Council’s ambitious nine-strand programme which aims to modernise and enhance services delivered across the whole authority to citizens. It is projected that the programme will realise benefits of around £1billion over the ten years to 2016.

 
2. Service Birmingham is a strategic partnership between Birmingham City Council and Capita which will support a transformation in the way the council works; improving services and contributing to its efficiency agenda. This strategic partnership forms part of the council’s objective to find better and more innovative ways of delivering services for the benefit of employees and citizens. The principle of this joint venture focuses on the provision of cost effective, sector leading, ICT services and in supporting the council in achieving its business transformation objectives.

 
3. Working for the Future, an essential part of the council’s wider Business Transformation programme, will consolidate the operational office portfolio and will be a catalyst for increasing workforce agility across the council contributing to the delivery of four key outcomes: better customer service, improved workplaces and work styles, greater sustainability and lower property operating costs. The Central Administrative Buildings (CAB) element of WFTF programme is set to realise £100million of net benefits over 25 years.

For further information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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