03 Feb 2015

Senior councillors to get update on major workplace transformation project

Senior councillors in Leeds will get an update next week on
major plans to transform the way thousands of council staff work and save the
authority around £15m.

The Changing the Workplace project, which aims to reduce the
council’s office accommodation needs by around 35 per cent, has already seen
more than 1,600 staff working differently by using mobile technology and
flexible work spaces

Most of these staff have now moved out of Merrion House as
part of the project to refurbish and expand the building.

The new Merrion House will become the main base in the city
centre, with Leeds Civic Hall, Enterprise House and St George’s House also
being retained.

All other offices in the city centre will be released.

Councillor Peter
Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and
, said:

“The success of the first phase of the Changing the
Workplace programme is testament to the flexibility and innovation of our staff
and officers, who have really embraced and adapted to the challenge beyond our

“At a time when we are facing unprecedented budget
pressures, it is imperative that we are at the forefront of meeting those
pressures head-on.

“The Changing the Workplace initiative is not only helping
us to achieve significant budget savings, it’s also ensuring that we have an
efficient, robust and cost-effective way of working which will benefit all our
customers in the future.

“Our evaluations show staff who have been part of the
first stage say they are more productive, feel more empowered to get on with
their work, and see health and wellbeing benefits."

He added: “Once completed, the
newly-refurbished Merrion House will be a state-of-the-art base for some of the
council’s key services.

“Having these services all under one roof will not only help
us to work more efficiently, it will also mean the public will have easier,
quicker access to some of the thing we know are very important to them.”

A new city centre One Stop Centre at Great George Street
that has brought together a number of services that were located elsewhere is
now also up and running as well as an information management facility at
Westland Road.

The council’s executive board, who will meet next week, will
hear that this first stage of the Changing the Workplace project has already
saved around £1.54m through release of property.

The council has also significantly reduced the expected
costs of delivering this project by around £9 million pounds by accommodating
staff who have moved in existing council properties and other cost saving

Once completed, the Merrion House project will include a new
six-storey extension that will be home to an integrated one stop centre alongside
Leeds City Credit Union and the Volunteer Centre Leeds.

The finished building will also feature a mezzanine and an atrium, meaning more
space and natural light in the new one stop centre.

The facility will host enquiry positions and rooms, self-service points,
waiting areas, public toilets and baby change facilities as well as a Changing
Places Accessible toilet.

More council staff will also be based on site following the redevelopment, with
numbers rising from 1,200 to 1,900.

The new Merrion House will offer approximately 170,000 square feet of office
space in total, including 50,000 square feet of office space in the new

Planning permission for the refurbishment was given late
last year and the pre work will start in May this year, with the main work on
the building taking place from September.

The Merrion House project will see the council’s existing long-term lease
arrangement on Merrion House being replaced by a new 25-year agreement.

As part of the new deal, the building will become jointly owned by Leeds City
Council and Town Centre Securities PLC.


Fore media enquiries, please contact:

Stuart Robinson

Communications Officer

Leeds City Council

Tel: 0113 224 3937

Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk


Contact information

Leeds City Council Communications team