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Departmental Buildings

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 10 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress his Department is making in its programme to rationalise its head office outside central London and maximise the flexible use of space in line with the Working Without Walls report. (174891)

The Head Office Estate programme originally included 27 buildings (outside those buildings in central London) and plans to retain 11 buildings, with the remainder being vacated and disposed of by 2009. DWP has so far completed the vacation and disposal of nine of the smaller offices outside London, with staff being re-housed in those larger DWP buildings designated for retention.

DWP is taking the opportunity with each programme change to introduce flexible working, where it does not already operate. DWP is also finalising preparations for its first ‘Pathfinder’ in flexible working which is planned to commence in Leeds in February 2008. The start date is linked to the rollout dates for the DWP Telephony programme which will deliver improved phone systems that provide staff with the ability to use their designated extension number from wherever they are sitting.