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Flexible working allows department office share

Monday, 2 August 2021

DEFA Headquarters

A more flexible approach to working since the pandemic will allow two departments to share one of the Island’s most eco-friendly offices, in a move that will save tax payers’ money and contribute to reducing Government’s carbon emissions.

The Department of Education, Sport and Culture (DESC) will relocate staff from Hamilton House in Douglas, which it currently rents, to the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture’s (DEFA) headquarters in St John’s from October.

Since the start of the pandemic, Government has encouraged staff to explore flexible working patterns, including home working, which has freed up desk spaces.

The move is in line with Treasury’s building consolidation strategy, which aims to reduce the amount Government pays for office space.

Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:

‘In the last 18 months there has been a considerable shift in how we work and this flexible approach has led to a great opportunity which can benefit the environment and the public purse.

‘Over the last five years DEFA has reviewed its internal structures and reduced the number of directors from nine to five in line with smaller, smarter Government principles.’

The two floor Thie Slieau Whallian was completed in 2010 and designed with energy efficiency and sustainability at its heart, in line with the environmental policies of Government. It was built using natural materials from sustainable sources and is heated by a biomass boiler, fuelled using woodchips and sawdust from the nearby Sawmill.

Dr Alex Allinson, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, said:

‘The move will mean we can fully utilise this award-winning building and work more easily with colleagues from across Government, laying the foundation for different work patterns, and a cultural shift for our department. I am grateful to all our staff for their flexibility and for DEFA who have already made us very welcome.’

The move will start in October and take place in phases to avoid disruption to services delivered by either department.

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