Council agree five year programme that will bring services together into fewer buildings

Council leader, Iain Gaul
Council leader, Iain Gaul

A five year programme for the introduction of agile working has been agreed by Angus Council.

The council is adopting agile and mobile working for many services, making better use of technology to improve services and increase productivity.

The five year programme agreed by the council yesterday (December 10) will bring services together into fewer buildings across the county.

Two of the council’s larger office premises, at Angus House in Forfar and Bruce House in Arbroath, will accommodate most of the council’s back office functions. Eight new local hubs will provide customer facilities, which will be shared by a range of services. Existing local premises will continue to operate until new facilities are established.

School areas, day care and residential care services, depots, theatres, libraries, and leisure centres are not included in the programme.

Council leader Iain Gaul said the adoption of agile working would improve efficiency and reduce costs.

He commented: “Agile working is a major strand of our Transforming Angus programme, where we are changing what we do and how we do it to ensure we use our time, our buildings and our money as effectively as possible.

“By making better use of mobile and digital technology we can be more efficient and improve services for our customers. We can do that in fewer buildings, allowing us to focus our spending on services rather than bricks and mortar. The next stage of the programme is to finalise the plans for the new local hubs where we will be able to provide a range of customer services from a single location in communities. Existing local offices will stay open until these new facilities are up and running.”

Excluding schools, the council currently has 118 operational properties and 42 were included in the agile and accommodation review. The council is now planning to use only 10 of those properties in the future to deliver three key service functions – corporate, citizen and democratic.

The 10 properties are:

· Corporate - Angus House, Forfar and Bruce House, Arbroath.

· Citizen, local hubs - Access Office and Bruce House in Arbroath, Municipal Buildings in Brechin, Access Office and Kinloch Care Centre in Carnoustie, County Buildings and Montrose Road premises in Forfar, and the Access Office, Montrose (citizen, shared locality hubs).

· Democratic - Municipal Buildings in Forfar.

The 32 properties identified as surplus to requirements are:

· Arbroath (12) - Dewar House/ Academy Lane, Catherine Street, Gowanlea, West Grimsby, Fergus Square, High Street (leased), 61 Marketgate, 69 High Street (leased), Kinnaird Street, Lunan Park and Peasiehill Road (leased). (Also surplus - Guthrie Hill, now demolished).

· Brechin/ Montrose (7) - Panmure Street, Brechin Business Centre (leased), Park Place, St Drostans, and Damacre in Brechin. High Street and John Street premises in Montrose.

· Carnoustie/ Monifieth (3) - Panmure Centre in Carnoustie. Access Office and Invertay House in Monifieth.

· Forfar/ Kirriemuir (10) - Ravenswood, The Yard, William Wallace House, St Margaret’s House, The Mart, The Cross, Carseview Road (leased) and Castle Street (leased) in Forfar. Fairlie House and Access Office (leased) in Kirriemuir.

The council will explore a range of options for the surplus properties including sale, lease to partners or private/third sector, community asset transfer or other community empowerment opportunities. The council will consider a further report on these options in due course.

The agile working programme may be subject to change to ensure it remains aligned with council priorities and initiatives such as area based services, health & social care integration, local development plan and the school investment strategy.