Civil Service stymied by bad office design

The new Labour Government’s desire for better communication, more effective procedures and organisational flexibility in the Civil Service is going to hit physical barriers in the form of bad office design, claims a new report.

The Changing Government Workplace, published by the Contemporary Design Research Centre at De Montfort University, criticises the links between the Civil Service’s organisational culture and the layout of its offices.

After studying 38 Government departments the team behind the report, which includes Professor Jeremy Myerson, admits that many civil servants may be “trapped” in older buildings.

But with many departments pursuing relocations and refurbishments and with the change in government, the time is ripe for looking at the problems, says Myerson.

“The heads of Government departments are interested in more effective ways of working,” says Myerson. “But the report shows the culture of the Civil Service is not about teamwork or motivating the lower ranks.

“The new Government is looking at re-inventing the whole machinery of government – so this summer is a really good time to be talking about this.”

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