County and District join forces in Yeovil

Staff at Somerset County Council have started their move this week to join South Somerset District Council colleagues at the District Council’s offices at Brympton Way, Yeovil.

Children’s Social Care, Adults Social Care and Aspire, which supports adults with learning disabilities, are among the County Council services that will be based at Brympton Way, having relocated from offices at Maltravers House in Yeovil and Holyrood Lace Mill in Chard. County Council services will be using one floor of the SSDC offices.

By sharing the premises, the two councils will benefit from working more closely together. The move follows on from what has already been achieved in other parts of the county, where the county and district councils share offices in Shepton Mallet, Wiliton and Bridgwater, making it easier for residents to access the public services they need in one place.

It marks the next phase in Somerset County Council’s mission to save money on office buildings, reducing the number of offices by sharing spaces with district councils and other partners.

The Smart Programme is projected to save almost a million pounds a year, once complete, which can be put into delivering core services for the people of Somerset.

Cllr David Huxtable, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “This is a very welcome move. Sharing these offices will help us work even more closely with our partners at South Somerset District Council, providing better value for money and better access to the services we provide. The success of our shared office spaces in South Somerset just shows that Somerset’s residents really do value having their key services in one place.”

Cllr Henry Hobhouse, South Somerset District Council Portfolio Holder for Property Services, said: “This is a win-win arrangement with both councils saving money and making the most efficient use of available space within our offices. We have created the capacity to accommodate County Council colleagues at Brympton Way by a combination of adopting flexible and more efficient working practices, “budging up” the staff, hot desking and introducing improved technology. As staff numbers have reduced in recent years the County Council represented the logical option in using the spare capacity of the building. However, it isn’t just about bricks and mortar as we all believe that working from the same space will provide an opportunity to deliver better integrated services to the public.”

• SCC staff will begin to move into the District Council offices on Monday 19th January 2015.

• The Smart Programme involves 33 properties that currently accommodate around 3,500 staff. The number of offices will be reduced to five main area hubs in each of the districts and 10 ‘drop-in’ offices around the county for mobile workers to use.

• This will help to make more efficient use of Council buildings and deliver value for money for local residents. It will also make it easier to collaborate with local partners and work together more closely on delivering services to the people of Somerset.

• The programme is expected to deliver revenue savings of approximately £0.91m per year once the programme is complete.

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