Government high-tech hub in Birmingham garlanded as one of world’s leading workplaces

Government Property Agency facility is the most highly rated public-sector office in the world

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

The Government Property Agency hub in England’s second city 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. Its creation has enabled “rationalisation” savings of £2m per year, according to the GPA.

On top of which, the location has been awarded a globally recognised 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 the 7,300 office buildings in the world assessed for 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”.

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

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.”

Dominic Brankin, workplace services director at the GPA, added: “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.”

The GPA facility opened as part of the GPA’s hubs programme, which is relocating civil servants from small offices into up to 50 large hubs equipped with the most modern technology. The programme has saved over £170m annually through building closures in London alone, the Cabinet Office said last year. However, the GPA had to change its plans for the programme last year to reflect lower post-Covid office occupancy rates and MPs described the plan in December as “in disarray”.

Tevye Markson

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