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Offices vacated as part of council efficiency programme


Date Added - 14/01/13

Council HQ

More money has been saved by Moray Council as it moves staff into its HQ building from satellite offices.

Staff have vacated nine buildings in Elgin, including a range of Portakabins on Hamilton Drive, and now operate from the main HQ building in the town’s high Street.

Over the last 12 months the council has been reconfiguring the internal layout of the HQ to accommodate more desks and support a more flexible working pattern.

The reconfiguration has increased the desk capacity of the building from 384 to 505, a 31.5per cent increase.

The work was undertaken by the council’s own tradesmen and architects, and is a major element of the Designing Better Services (DBS) efficiency programme.

Once completed, the four-year DBS programme will save taxpayers over £4million a year on current costs. Now at a halfway point, savings generated are outweighing the cost of implementing the programme.

The council invested over £4.5million in the refurbishment of the former supermarket building next door to the HQ as part of the programme, creating a new access point for customers with improved car parking.

The cost of reconfiguring the HQ is just under £1million.

Included in the reconfiguration of the building are energy-efficient light fittings and ventilation systems, more power and data points for the increased desks, and other structural alterations.

The work was carried out in phases to keep disruption to a minimum.

Leader of Moray Council and Chair of Policy and Resources Committee, Cllr Allan Wright, said the council was on track to reap the savings generated by the change programme.

“It was a bold move to commit such a large sum of money to this programme, but the council could not afford to carry on as it was.

“We had to change the way we provided certain services and office functions, and I’m pleased that the fruits of this change – both in cash savings and efficiencies - is now being delivered.

“Everyone involved in the programme has worked incredibly hard, and the staff have endured a lot of disruption whilst still carrying on with their day-to-day duties.

“There is still some way to go to complete the programme, but I am confident it will remain on track.”

The council was spending £112,OOO a year on leases, in addition to business rates and energy costs.

Leased buildings in Elgin that have been vacated are:

Elgin Business Centre

149 High Street

Unit 1-3 Chanonry Business Centre

Clifton Road Lossiemouth

Commerce House

Hamilton Drive Portakabins

Staff are moving in to HQ from the following council-owned properties:-

Music Centre in Francis Place

27 Greyfriars Street

30-32 High Street

23A High Street(February)

Gordon Street (February)

 

Surplus properties could form part of the council’s asset transfer scheme, whereby they are taken on by community groups. Otherwise disposal will be undertaken by the council’s estates section.