Which public sector organisations are leading the way on smart working?

Written by Richard Johnstone on 14 February 2019 in News

Government Property Agency shines a light on innovative practices and uses of technology

The nominees have been revealed for the 2019 Smarter Working Awards, with 12 government organisations recognised for their achievements in driving smart working transformation across the civil service and wider public sector.

The awards, which are organised by the Government Property Agency, will recognise best practice in the civil service as part of its aim to create working environments that empower staff and make best use of workplaces and technology, while also realising savings for the taxpayer.

Nominees have been named across five categories and come after the Government Estate Strategy published last July included a commitment for all departments to implement smarter working by the end of 2022. In response, the Smarter Working Programme was established to support departments in meeting the government’s Smart Working Code of Practice, known as PAS 3000.


Taking the lead
In the corporate leadership category, nominees include the project and programme delivery team at Transport for London, which volunteered to pilot a challenging Smarter Working target of a 7:10 desk ratio in July 2018, and proving that this could be achieved at pace and with no loss of productivity.

Also named in this category is North Lincolnshire Council’s WorkWell initiative, which has instigated reforms to make more collaborative use of workspace, as is the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, which is part of the Ministry of Defence, for its move to reduce the size of the estate. The DIO’s senior leaders have actively adopted smarter working behaviours, while individual offices have been removed and turned into meeting rooms.

Workplace leaders
Nominees for the workplace award include the Department of Health and Social Care’s programme to refresh its office estates, including moving to a new London headquarters and fully refurbishing Quarry House Leeds. A key part of the strategy was to achieve space efficiency of 8sqm per full time equivalent employee while providing transformational workplace changes.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is recognised for its Our Future Workplace programme, which has developed a workspace policy to adapt its office space to meet the department’s growth from around 380 staff in 2013 to now nearly 1,300. It was not possible to expand the floorspace in the department, which is based at 100 Parliament Street, so the programme used smart working design and staff engagement to find solutions.

Also nominated in the category is energy regulator Ofgem for its office relocation programme, during which the watchdog has embarked on an ambitious programme to embed smarter ways of working.

Tech titans
Nominated in the technology category is the Department for Education’s smarter working programme, which it has implemented to deal with an increase in departmental staff from around 3,000 to more than 6,000. The programme included new mobile technology rolled out to all staff, and training for collaborative software.

Also nominated is the Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, for its Project Common IT Programme, which implemented smart working in a unique environment in terms of legal and policy compliance, and security. The Department of Health and Social Care’s open services programme is also nominated for its work to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of smart working while it has faced an urgent need to reduce costs and headcount and rationalise its estate.

Culture winners
Nominees for the culture and people award include North Yorkshire County Council for its modern council programme. The council asked staff to consider ‘What does it mean for me?’ to drive transformation, giving individuals ownership of cultural transformation.

The Welsh Government’s Merthyr Tydfil pilot of smart working approaches is also up for the award, with government and trade union officials working together to create new, shorter and simplified HR policies.

The Food Standards Agency’s Our Ways of Working programme is also recognised, for modernising ways of working and increasing digital capability to enable staff to grow and develop.

Working together
North Yorkshire County Council’s modern council programme picked up its second nomination in this category. It was joined by the MoJ smarter working programme, which has seen the MoJ expand on its status as an early adopter of smarter working. Implementation has stepped up in 2017 and 2018 through the department’s smart working delivery board, programme board and practitioner group. Stepping up the implementation has seen the department make a significant contribution to smarter working principles, policy and practice across government and further afield.

GCHQ also receives its second nomination in this category for its involvement in smarter working across the civil service during 2017 and 2018.

See the full list of nominees here

About the author

Richard Johnstone is deputy and online editor of PublicTechnology sister publication Civil Service World, where this article first appeared. He tweets as @CSW_DepEd.

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