Sunday, September 19, 2021

New office for NWLDC as it adopts modern ways of working

North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) is set to move to a new, smaller office space and create a customer contact centre in Coalville town centre.

A proposal to change the authority’s accommodation to suit its new ways of working was approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday 27 July 2021.

Subject to Full Council approval in September, NWLDC will refurbish the top floor of the existing Whitwick Business Centre to create a place where staff can work together, whilst most staff will continue to work from home.

A new Customer Service Centre will be created in the heart of Coalville town centre, probably using one of the units in the Belvoir Shopping Centre. The new building will provide a more central location and customers will have the option to choose how they access services whether it’s in person, over the phone or in a virtual capacity.

The aged Council Offices would be demolished, retaining the historic Stenson House (formerly the Urban District Council building), which will still host registration services.

The current Council Offices, which is an extension to Stenson House built in the 1970s, has been deemed unfit for modern working and would cost millions to make it fit for purpose. It would cost:

  • £4 million in backlogged maintenance to bring it up to safe standards
  • £7.3 million to refurbish for modern ways of working
  • £7.8 million to build a replacement

Instead, the council plans to invest £1.5 million to create its new office space at Whitwick Business Centre and create a customer centre into Coalville town centre.

This move towards a more agile way of working has been in the pipeline for some time now, but the pandemic fast tracked this work somewhat, with the majority of staff immediately set up to work from home.

Full Council will consider the proposal on 7 September 2021. Subject to approval, work on the Customer Centre will begin immediately, with a possible opening in winter 2021/22. The move from the Council Offices to Whitwick Business Centre is likely to take place in spring 2022.

Bev Smith, Chief Executive of North West Leicestershire District Council, said: “The building we currently work from is not just tired, it isn’t fit for purpose, and would cost millions to bring it up to safe and modern standards. We’ve looked at agile and flexible working for our staff for some time now, but the pandemic brought this work forward, with most people working from home effectively.

“As we move towards smaller premises and a more modern way of working for staff, we want our customers to know that they’re on this journey with us too. A new central location for our Customer Service Centre will give customers the flexibility to choose how they access our services, whether it’s face-to-face, over the phone or virtually.”

Councillor Richard Blunt, Leader of North West Leicestershire District Council, added: “It doesn’t make financial sense to stay in a building that needs so much investment to make it right for our staff. We have approached flexible working with an open mind and are pleased that most staff now work from home efficiently and continue to provide great services.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the plans take shape to modernise our accommodation, particularly the customer facing element, which will be in a much more convenient town centre location.”

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