Bosses say offices clear-out ‘worth it’

Skips and removal vans outside the former Lancashire County Council centre located in The Globe in Accrington.
Skips and removal vans outside the former Lancashire County Council centre located in The Globe in Accrington.
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This is the moment removal men were caught on camera stripping out a building, only recently overhauled at a cost of more than £250,000 to the public purse.

Lancashire County Council staff were moved from offices across the county to The Globe, in Accrington, which underwent a major overhaul.

leaving 'home': Removals teams take out the last of the furniture from The Globe offices. It is alleged some of the office equipment has even been thrown into skips

leaving 'home': Removals teams take out the last of the furniture from The Globe offices. It is alleged some of the office equipment has even been thrown into skips

But only three months after the overhaul was completed, staff have been moved out of the ‘hub’ and the building emptied to make way for a British Telecom call centre.

More than 400 staff from the children and young people’s service and the adult and community service are being moved to various smaller offices as the building is handed over to the telecoms giant.

The move is part of a long-term partnership between BT and the county council, which has seen hundreds of Preston workers seconded to One Connect and moved to The Globe complex. Today, County Hall bosses defended their decision to allow BT to take over the building as a call centre, saying it will create 300 jobs.

But opposition leaders and tax payers’ groups accused the Conservative-run council of wasting money and disrupting social services staff.

One worker at The Globe who did not wish to be named, said: “What’s happening is really farcical, to put it lightly.

“It has been refurbished for the past two years, I think they have spent a lot on it. It has been developed to a really high standard. It has only been completed for the past three months, and they are ripping it out.

“There are new blinds and carpets that have never been used and they are going into storage – it is like a bomb site. Lots of things they don’t think will fit, like desks, will be going into storage.

“I would say 25% of the desks will be going into storage. There has been a lot thrown away and lots of filing cabinets donated to hospices and charity. I would say two skips have been filled.”

Social work staff, who were based at Clitheroe, moved into The Globe in December, after their office was closed as part of a review to “bring employees together in fewer offices”.

County Coun Jennifer Mein, leader of the Labour group, said: “BT asked LCC to help them find a site, and they decided they would like The Globe, so the staff are being moved out so it can be refitted as a call centre.

“I understand BT is offering to bring 300 new jobs to the area, which is extremely welcome, but I just find it rather uncomfortable LCC staff are being asked to move again.They have been treated very badly.

“It is an expensive exercise at a time of austerity and constrained spending. It would appear to be rather wasteful having spent this money to bring it up to standard.”

Coun Mein added there were currently numerous sites across the county which the county council could have suggested for a call centre.

County Coun Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of the county council, said: “The big picture here is that BT is bringing 300 new jobs to Accrington. For a major global brand to move jobs into Lancashire brings clear economic benefits to the town and the wider area.

“BT was looking for suitable accommodation in Lancashire. Moving staff to other county council offices enabled us to bring in this excellent new employment opportunity.

“The funding for the council’s move to Accrington came from our property rationalisation budget.

“Making more efficient use of our buildings is part of wider plans to save £205m over three years.”

A spokesman for BT said: “We chose this location because it has suitable accommodation and people with the right skills, and we have a good relationship with Lancashire County Council.”