ESSEX County Council is looking at options that could mean it moves out of its headquarters in Chelmsford city centre.

As much as £2.6million could be saved annually by moving out of County Hall which the administration says is only partially filled after its shift to hybrid working patterns.

Essex County Council leader Kevin Bentley told Cabinet: “There is no decision made about this building and nor will there be for a little while yet.

“But what is important is that it is quite clear that while there are quite a few of us in today, for those us who do come in during the course of the week the building is virtually empty.

“And that is not just here, that is elsewhere in the entire estate.

“We are working differently and therefore that must be reflected on behalf of the tax-payer who pay for these buildings.

“If we are not going to use them in the same way, we need to find better ways to help them save money and deliver better value for them as well.”

In September 2021, Essex County Council introduced its new hybrid ‘Ways of Working’ programme where there are four types of work styles.

Braintree and Witham Times:

  • Kevin Bentley

'Anywhere' workers can work from home or remotely most of the time, fixed-based workers are based at specific locations, community-based workers spend most of their time working in the wider community and operational field-based workers work outside and rarely perform computer based tasks.

A report to Cabinet said there has been a full-year forecast overspend of £5.1million driven by pressures within the adult social care and health, and the finance, resources and corporate affairs portfolios.

There could be a £2.6million saving on property if the possible exit of County Hall goes ahead.

Cabinet member Chris Whitbread added: “What I would say is we have mothballed parts of this building already that are underused to find savings and good management is key, particularly as part of our climate change agenda as well.”