Council Office Rationalisation
The Council has undertaken a strategic review of administrative buildings as part of its ongoing commitments to sustainability, modernising service delivery and economic efficiencies.
The review comprised two complimentary outline business cases (OBCs) – the Civic/ Office Rationalisation OBC and the Newtownards Citizen Hub OBC – which collectively assessed ten of the Council’s existing buildings, covering all administration staff, civic functions, and several outward-facing services.
The business cases outline a vision for transforming the Council into a more modern, citizen-focused organisation, which has town and city centre regeneration at its heart and provide opportunities to deliver efficiency and productivity savings. They seek to complement new agile and collaborative ways of working across the public sector.
There is no projected additional expenditure in relation to the Office Rationalisation project – the costs of any new accommodation would be offset by savings on the maintenance of the existing estate, and the repurposing of some buildings through lease or sale. The proposed new Citizens Hub in Newtownards represents an investment of circa £8m, shared with Libraries NI.
At its meeting on 21 December 2023, the Council agreed the two outline business cases and tasked officers to produce a report around options for new office accommodation in either the city of Bangor or Newtownards town centre, taking into consideration value for money, regeneration impact and the accessibility/ adaptability of any proposed site. The report will also consider inflationary impacts on construction costs for both projects and provide a project plan with next steps.
It is important to recognise that these are long-term plans and timelines for delivery are yet to be determined. The decision to review the Council’s accommodation portfolio and to invest in a Citizen Hub are part of our vision for more sustainable, efficient and modern ways of working.