Plans to spend £500,000 on office furniture for the new headquarters of Wyre Forest District Council have been criticised by a local councillor.
Labour district and Stourport town councillor Jamie Shaw said the existing furniture at the £10.5 million building in Finepoint Business Park in Kidderminster should be reused. However, council bosses believe the new tables and desks will help the office to become more efficient in the longer term.
Councillor Shaw said: ”When we have got a lot of good furniture it seems to be a waste of money when we have got so little in the way of resources. Nice matching furniture to create a brand image seems to be the wrong priority.”
Conservative councillor and leader of the district council John Campion said: ”We are equipping the new building to enable us to work in new ways both in the short and long term. Not all our existing furniture is appropriate for this purpose but some good quality or larger items will be retained for use in specific rooms at the new headquarters.”
He added that critics must see the bigger picture and recognise that the move will help the council to save over £500,000 a year in running costs. Local authorities, community groups and employees will be given the chance to take the unwanted furniture so that it can be recycled and put to good use.
Construction work on Finepoint Business Park is due to be completed later this year.
This is a topic that is becoming increasing talked about in the UK public sector.
With budgets and staffing being slashed right across the country, local councils have to justify spending thousands on office furniture to improve the long term use of offices for their staff, especially in new offices like this project in Kidderminster.
New office furniture is not all about making a new office look good, it improves office ergonimics for their staff, as well providing an atmosphere for staff to want to work in.
We are certainly not arguing that all offices should be refitting as a lot of office furniture in the public sector is often thrown away in good condition which can easily be reused.