Government hub named 'best public sector workplace in the world'

Birmingham hub is only the second public sector building to get the certification
Common working space in the Birmingham hub. Photo: GPA

By Tevye Markson

24 Mar 2023

A Birmingham office housing 20 government departments and agencies has been rated the best public sector employee workplace experience in the world.

The Government Property Agency hub has been awarded a globally recognised certification certification after receiving a score of 76 out of 100 from office surveyor firm Leesman. This places the hub as the top employee workplace experience in the UK’s public sector and in the top 2% of office buildings in the world, according to the Leesman index.

Leesman+ is a globally recognised certification that is awarded to top-tier workplaces following rigorous surveying, analysis and testing.

The GPA has become only the second public sector building globally to achieve the standard, joining the Competition and Markets Authority. 

To be given the certification, buildings must “create an elevated benchmark, and provide valuable insights into the quality of features, services and infrastructure that matter the most to the people who use the building”.

Dominic Brankin, workplace services director at the GPA, said: “The GPA is incredibly proud to learn we are providing a truly top-rated workplace experience for civil servants. 

“We are all navigating our way through new ways of working that have evolved at alarming speeds. But we always work hard to maintain focus on our clients and customers to ensure we create great places to work. Our Leesman+ certification is proof we are delivering on what we promise.”

Leesman surveyed both office-based civil servants and those who visit more flexibly from other offices. 

The firm has surveyed more than 7,300 buildings so far for certification, in 109 countries. Only 202 buildings have successfully achieved the standard, which the company said places the GPA’s Birmingham building on Stephenson Street in the top 2% of global workplaces.

Tim Oldman, founder and chief executive of Leesman, said: “Stephenson Street’s fantastic Leesman Index workplace experience rating score is testament to the GPA’s tireless effort to put public sector employees at the heart of their workplace design strategy. 

“And it shows that functionally outstanding, contemporary workplaces are certainly not the preserve of the private sector, demonstrating that user-centric, evidence-based approaches deliver an outstanding return on investment.”

The GPA’s Birmingham Hub was refurbished from disused retail space to create what it describes as “modern, digitally-connected and inclusive workspaces”. It houses 1,700 staff from across 20 government bodies. 

Officials began working in the building from July 2021, with the site officially opened in July 2022. 

The building is saving more than £2m per year through “estate rationalisation”, according to the GPA.

The offices opened as part of the GPA’s hubs programme, which is relocating civil servants from small offices into up to 50 large, modern hubs. The programme has saved over £170m annually through building closures in London alone, the Cabinet Office said last year.

However, the GPA has had to alter the programme last year to reflect lower post-Covid office occupancy rates and MPs described the plan in December as "in disarray".

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