Councils set to streamline office centres

ADUR District Council and Worthing Borough Council are streamlining their offices.

They are merging three large administrative buildings - Worthing’s Town Hall and Portland House and the Adur Civic Centre in Shoreham-by-Sea - into two.

The streamlining is part of a cost-saving measure and a bid, say the councils , “to deliver more efficient services and maintain a freeze in council tax.”

The Adur Civic Centre is now currently up for sale, as it needs a substantial sum spent on it to bring it up to modern day office standards.

In spring next year the majority of office-based staff will be relocated to the Town Hall and Portland House in Worthing in a move to reduce running costs.

Portland House is already closed ready for a major refit to introduce new ways of working and accommodate more staff.

Residents across the two areas will access their services from this brand new customer services hub in Portland House, once the refurbishment has been completed in the spring of 2013.

The Worthing Registrar’s office will also be located there.

Worthing Town Hall will have some refurbishment - but is limited due to its Grade II Listed Building status - to accommodate back office staff and potentially other community organisations.

Adur residents won’t lose any services after the ‘Civic’ is sold though as work is in hand to provide a civic presence in Shoreham by possibly adding a new wing to the Shoreham Community Centre at Pond Road, and other improvements to the venue.

In the meantime residents can still access services at the Civic Centre in Adur and the Town Hall in Worthing.

Neil Parkin, leader of Adur council, said:

“Adur will remain a separate council, with its own councillors and chairman; we will also remain in Shoreham-by-Sea.”

Worthing council leader Paul Yallop added:

“This project allows us to greatly reduce the annual costs of office accommodation helping us to meet the challenging financial cuts being passed down from the Coalition Government. “Redesigning our service delivery is a much better option than cutting front line public services.

“As an added benefit our residents will benefit from improved service with an easy to access one-stop-shop for most of the council services they value.”

Strategic director Andrew Gardiner, said:

“The £3.2m agreed budget for the new ways of working project is an invest to save project that will enable both councils to deliver improved services and more efficiencies over the next few years. The sale of the Adur Civic Centre for example will save over £1m per year as keeping it would require that figure to be spent on maintenance alone.

“In the future council staff will be working more flexibly as desk areas are reduced to save on expensive office floor space, some of which will be offset by income received from renting space out.”

The new customer service hub in Portland House, Worthing, will open in the spring.