The UK government has officially opened its Canary Wharf Hub, which is now ready to accommodate more than 6,000 civil servants – alleviating the need for expensive office space in Whitehall. The Canary Wharf Hub is the latest hub to join the Public Sector Hubs Network (PSHN) – an innovative and efficient nexus of shared physical and digital estates in the UK.

The flagship multi-organisation government hub, located at 10 South Colonnade in the heart of London’s financial district, features shared meeting and collaboration space combined with a conference suite to serve its eight government tenant agencies including HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Ofgem and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) – with all resource bookings, including rooms and desks handled by Matrix Booking.

The move is part of a long-term Civil Service transformation to reduce fragmented government office buildings from 800 to 200 by 2030, and moving these departments into the new Canary Wharf Hub will result in a saving of £24m a year.

Collaboration hubs Matrix Booking

“This hub is one of 14 across the country already announced which will use cutting-edge design and innovative technology to deliver smarter public services that reduce vacant space across the Government Estate. The Government has saved £300m per year in running costs, through the disposal of over a thousand properties since 2014. By the end of this Parliament, we will have established a network of around 20 multi-agency Government hubs across the UK that utilise efficient smarter working practices and are accessible to the communities they serve.”

Oliver Dowden – Minister for Implementation

Matrix Booking & the Public Sector Hub Network

There has been an unprecedented change to the way civil servants work and the estates and systems they use. Initiatives such as The Way We Work and the One Public Estate programme have changed the landscape of the public sector estate.

These programmes introduce and encourage flexible working, reconfiguration of workspaces and increased collaboration between the staff of multiple and varied organisations and increased sharing of physical resources. To help civil servants adapt and adjust to these new ways of working, the Matrix Booking team has worked closely with the major government departments, including the MoJ and HMRC, to understand current needs and future vision for the public sector, specifically around resource management with a strong focus on user experience – the result is the Public Sector Hub Network (PSHN).

The Government Property Agency is expected to deliver £3.6bn worth of savings over 20 years, of which £2.5bn will be delivered by the Hubs Programme. HMRC is the largest occupier of the government hub, with 2,000 of its people using Matrix Booking to manage and benefit from the flexible, collaborative work environment.

The PSHN launched in 2015 with the MoJ commuter hub programme, which went live with Matrix Booking in 17 locations. The following year, the programme added six new organisations comprising of more than 75 sites. In 2017, the HMRC commuter hub joined the PSHN along with the Government Property Hub and several local government hubs in Havant, East Hampshire, Cambridgeshire and Staffordshire, bringing together county, borough and district councils as well as the Police service.

There are now more than 25 different central and local government organisations and over 100 physical sites in the PSHN, which is now the largest and fastest growing hub network in the UK.

The PSHN comprises local and central government organisations, where the unique quality of shared visibility and booking rights (of shared estates) with other organisations in the network helps to drive maximum utilisation of the public estate.

Joining the PSHN is made incredibly easy by Matrix Booking. To sign up to the Hub Network Service, a user only requires approval from the host organisation and a Matrix Booking user subscription. Organisations can join an existing hub or create their own network, with subscriptions readily available on the government G-cloud framework.

Through smarter property management, and the uptake of modern, more efficient working practices, vacant space has been reduced across the Government estate by 73 percent since 2014. This forms part of the Government Estate Strategy, which seeks to provide a Government Estate that works for everyone. It aims to drive growth and opportunity by moving Government jobs to centres of excellence in areas across the UK with particular strengths and skills, to house the civil service in modern, flexible workspaces.

The hubs programme is part of the Government’s broader SmarterGov campaign launched to drive innovation, savings and public service improvement across Government and the wider public sector.

“I am pleased that HMRC is delivering Phase one of the Government Hubs Programme including being commissioned to deliver the Canary Wharf Hub with Government Property Agency. More than 2,000 of our London-based people are already benefitting from the facilities the Hub has to offer; including modern, flexible workspaces with great IT and excellent transport links. Bringing our teams from across London together in Canary Wharf is already showing the benefits of collaboration and modern ways of working.”

Steven Boyd – HMRC’s Estates Director