Lambeth Council is considering plans to dramatically reduce the amount of office space it uses in a bid to save millions. It is hoped that the reorganisation will save over £4 million a year in running costs as well as raising money from building sales.
Following a major reduction in government funding, the council will have around 20 per cent fewer staff and will consequently need less office accommodation. Plans to encourage staff to work more flexibly and streamlining of services, will also free up space.
Various options are being considered and while the emphasis is on saving money, the council will also consult with community groups and partners to ask how they want to use space for community meetings, voluntary organisations and other cooperative projects.
Deputy Leader, Cllr Jackie Meldrum said: “Since the government cut our funding by nearly a third, our work force has changed dramatically and so it makes sense to review our use of offices. Every penny of the money raised will go back into council priorities such as schools, roads and housing.
“This is not just a case of asking staff to change desks. Simply shutting underused buildings might save cash in the short term but it would be a missed opportunity to save so much more in the long term. We are exploring ways of making our buildings much cheaper and efficient to run and getting the most from any building sales.
“It is also a chance to encourage residents to make the most of our buildings. Providing space for grassroots community projects will help the cooperative council flourish. All of this will be achieved without any cost to residents.”
The next stage of the plan is to consult with community groups and partners about how they want to use the council buildings. Possibilities being explored include letting local students or voluntary groups use the empty desks at night or over the weekend and increasing flexible working so it’s easier for staff to share desks.
Other council initiatives to save money include freezing pay, reducing staff and sharing services with our neighbouring councils as well as exploring how to make more revenue from our parks and open spaces from concerts and public events.