Valuation Office Agency (V.O.A.) Blueprint Estates updates Oct/Nov 2017
On Tuesday 31st October 2017 the Valuation Office Agency (V.O.A.) shared its revised Estates Strategy through face-to-face briefings in all offices across the Agency. It's Estates Strategy is important as we need to have offices in locations that will help us to deliver our services as effectively as possible in the future. Our offices need to be more modern and efficient. Our current estate is too big for our needs and we need to follow guidelines on sustainability and use of space.
The agency shared their five-year plan for its Estates and now to give you a clear picture of what's happening with our offices over the next five years. seeking clarity on our future locations to help you make important decisions on your future choices, particularly for those of you taking part in the Target Organisational Model (TOM) selection processes.
The agency announced its Estates Strategy in 2014. A lot has changed in the last three years so it needed to check whether it still supported the Agency to be sustainable in the future. Since 2014, the VOA have refreshed its Agency Blueprint and from April next year, Stage one of the TOM will change how our main operations are organised and the way we will work in our roles.
Of course, there are also external factors that we needed to consider as part of the revised Estates Strategy. For example, looking at where we can align with HMRC in locations where they also have an office. This will give us access to better quality accommodation with more facilities, restaurants and state of the art training rooms that we could never deliver on our own.
The latest updates:
The VOA have announced that we will be in 26 offices by 2022/23. They agency have published some timeline maps which show the 26 locations and office closures by year for the next five years. (Timeline maps only can be viewed on the VOA intranet)
There are some changes to our future locations, compared to the 2014 Estates Strategy:
1. Reading, Northampton, Stoke, Swansea and Lancaster will all now close in the next five years.
2. Where possible we will aim to provide colleagues with 12 months' notice of an office closure.
3. We will keep our offices in Cambridge, Eastbourne and Folkestone for the next five years.
4. We will no longer create an office in Crawley or Maidstone.
5. We will close our Customer Service Centres in Rhyl, Durham, and Halifax. Halifax NSO work (as well as core operational work in Halifax) will move to Leeds.
6. London Support Units: Huddersfield and Gloucester will close.
VOA management response:
"I know those of you working in offices that will now close in the next five years will feel disappointed by this. I'd like to reassure you that we value you and that the work you do is very important to the Agency. This isn't about reducing the number of people that work in the Agency, it's about transforming our office estate to support how we will work in the future. We will continue to support you through the changes."
The RCTU response:
Revenue & Customs Trade Union (RCTU) confirmed today that it is to step up its continued campaign to fight a planned programme of Valuation Office Agency office closures the length and breadth of the VOA and has given a timeline of 5 years for the programme to be completed.
RCTU is seeking assurances from agency that staff Terms and Conditions are not eroded during this period and will ask to be made a party of any consultations regarding the programme of the estates review.
The union will raise concerns with the VOA and has asked them to provide a detailed and serious response to us on open dialog with the offices affected by the estates review.
The RCTU wishes to engage in mutual dialog with the employer on the issues concerning our members and the wider staff in the VOA to forge a memorandum of understanding in regards to the TOM and Blueprint/Estates review for the benefit to all of us.
*** Remember all our efforts and energy is focused where it must be as our main priority– VOA & HMRC staff and their concerns. ***