Agenda item

New Office Accommodation Update

This report provides Employment Committee with an update on the current progress of the new office accommodation project taking place.



The report was presented to the Committee by the Deputy Chief Executive who confirmed that the progress was on course.


Approval was given at the Annual Full Council meeting held on 26 May 2022 to vacate the existing offices at St Peter’s Hill, Grantham and relocate to the empty office unit above the Savoy Cinema on St Catherine’s Road.  A budget allocation of up to £500k funded from the Invest to Save Reserve was approved by Council to be used for the relocation and works to be carried out for the upstairs area. 


Design works and specification of the fitting out of the space has been moving forward, including consultation with all relevant stakeholders and the People’s Panel.  The design and floor layout for the upper floor previously agreed was starting to take shape, and works have now begun on the space.  The works have been led by the Lindum Construction Group via the Scape Framework to adhere to the Councils financial and procurement regulations and was approved by Cabinet. This was expected to be completed prior to Christmas, and then members of the facilities and IT team were to begin transferring furniture and IT equipment. It was hoped this will allow staff to work from the new office in January 2023.  The office space would enable staff to hot-desk and work in the same area, further building a culture of team SK.


It was also approved at Cabinet that the temporary relocation of the Customer Services provision to the Guildhall Arts Centre could take place, so that there was no disruption to customers, whilst the move was underway.  Plans for this were underway and the move was to take place towards the end of November 2022. 


During discussion, Members raised the following points:


·       Was the St Catherine’s Road office to include customer-facing services?


·       What capacity was the office space able to accommodate?


·       Would Members be shown around when complete?


·       Timely progress of the move was welcomed.


·       Over £1 million has been spent in the last 4 years developing the public realm area near the cinema, what was happening with the old offices?


·       Was the Council required to pay back the £1.3 million that was given by the Local Enterprise Partnership for a University Centre that hasn’t gone ahead and how did that affect the budget?


·       Ground Floor accommodation that was to be open to the public was welcomed


·       Was there sufficient space for public partners?


The Deputy Chief Executive confirmed that the eventual plan was to move Customer Services into the new office space, along with public sector partners.  Imminently, Customer Services was to temporarily move to an office in the Guildhall recently vacated by Citizens Advice.  The Officer continued that full capacity was to include 90 desks.  Considering that staff work within the office 2 days in a week, this was likely to be more than necessary. Although not currently safe, Members would be welcome to be shown around the office space once building works had been completed.


The Chairman clarified that the report to be noted within the meeting was particularly in reference to the new accommodation and not the office being vacated.


The Deputy Chief Executive informed the Committee that the old office was being marketed and that there had been interest.  The Officer confirmed that there were still ongoing negotiations over the ground floor facilities.  The Council would have to pay back monies owed, regardless of the decision by Lincoln University to cancel their arrangement and this was no within the control of the Council, unfortunately.  It was understood that over the period of the pandemic, educational needs had changed, particularly with the use of online learning.  While space would be reduced, it was considered adequate as the demand for face-to-face service had significantly reduced.


A Member asked for clarification on how there was to be an opportunity to scrutinise the decisions discussed as part of the agenda.


The Chairman confirmed that Employment was not a scrutiny committee and the Finance, Economic Development, Corporate and Overview Committee would be the most relevant to consider such decisions.




a)    That the Employment Committee noted the progress on the new office accommodation.

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