In 2016 Public Health Wales NHS Trust (PHW) relocated 550+ professional, technical and administrative staff from nine offices in South East Wales to a new build in a regeneration zone in Cardiff.
PHW’s vision was to create workplace for collaboration, focus, socialisation and learning, underpinned by the principles of sustainability and maximising public value. This submission focuses on the challenges associated with the interior design and supply of office furniture, namely, how to overcome:
- Avoid reputational damage through perceptions of profligacy during a period of austerity and challenge for public services;
- the need to meet the new statutory duties of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (WFGA), requiring public bodies to improve the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales by thinking long-term; and work better with people and communities in a more joined up way;
- break the traditional procurement cycle of having to accept the lowest cost new items which often look ‘institutional’, have poor ergonomics, a short lifetime and poor sustainability;
- address the disposal of a high volume of unwanted items in a sustainable way;
- widespread resistance to a completely open plan workspace from by staff accustomed to individual offices; and
- the need to have a design in keeping with a modern, open plan workspace while securing value for money; and probably most challenging: seeking to secure public health outcomes from the investment.