Office space strategy moves forward

The cross-party working group was set up in November to explore the business case for relocating Woodhill House  and Gordon House to a new site.
The cross-party working group was set up in November to explore the business case for relocating Woodhill House and Gordon House to a new site.

A councillor working group set up to consider the consolidation of two of Aberdeenshire Council’s largest office buildings, will make a series of recommendations to full council regarding the future of the project.

The cross-party working group was set up in November to explore the business case for relocating Woodhill House in Aberdeen and Gordon House in Inverurie to a new site.

If agreed, the proposals will see a smaller, more flexible and cheaper office built at Harlaw Park, at the same time as enabling more employees across services to work more flexibly in modern fit-for- purpose buildings.

Councillors on the working group were told that maintaining the existing offices in Aberdeen and Inverurie would require a major investment and would leave the council with office buildings far larger than it needs both now, and in the future.

They are keen to see officers progress proposals for the consolidation of existing offices in Aberdeen and Inverurie, along with investment in office accommodation in other towns across Aberdeenshire in order to support flexible working arrangements for office-based staff.

Plans include placing a greater emphasis on staff to work in localities closer to the communities they serve; adopting more flexible working practices, reducing travel time and increasing time spent on delivering services.

This may result in further investment to council office facilities in towns like Ellon and Stonehaven to provide greater flexibility to staff to work in different locations. It also opens the door to exploring further co-location with public and private sector partners.

Councillors will discuss a report on the office space strategy at its next meeting on January 26, and if agreed, a Member/Officer working group will be established to oversee the progress of the project, intended to continue beyond the May elections.