Workspace Accreditation Pilot

 

The workspace accreditation pilot was commissioned by the Greater London Authority (GLA) in October 2019, following the recommendation from the Affordability Crisis reports that aims to help ensure London’s workspaces survive and thrive. 

The workspace accreditation pilot awards affordable workspaces that offer good community impact and business support to their tenant and local communities, and operate a responsible business practice environment.

The ultimate aim of the accreditation is to ensure that London’s workspaces are accessible, affordable and impactful for all Londoners and all businesses which need to use them.

Why is an accreditation scheme useful?

  • It acts as an incentive for workspaces to have a more affordable, accessible and comprehensive offer for businesses
  • It increases the social, economic and community impact of workspaces and the businesses they house, thereby contributing to local community wealth and the development of inclusive economies 
  • It can help local authorities understand how they can deliver a light touch programme of support for workspace providers
COVID-19
The current COVID-19 crisis underlines the importance of having a workspace accreditation scheme which gives policy makers and grant givers a list of local workspaces offering local impact and provides businesses with a place to go when seeking affordable and ethical workspace provision.

Who is involved and taking part in this pilot scheme?

8 Local Authorities and 12 Workspace providers from across London have been selected to take part in the pilot accreditation scheme.  The selected local authorities are the London Boroughs of Harrow, Brent, Lambeth, Lewisham, Westminster, Hackney, Haringey, and Waltham Forest, plus the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC).

Click the map to view the participating local authorities and their workspaces.

Why have an accreditation scheme?

  • It acts as a ‘badge of honour’ and a quality stamp 
  • It could help to attract local businesses
  • It will help assess and improve existing processes and procedures, as well as develop new ones 
  • It will be an opportunity to: 
    • Join a list of preferred suppliers across London that can be used by local authorities and other funders
    • Learn from other workspace providers and share good practice

Aims of the accreditation scheme

Accreditation could be linked to funding opportunities or local and wider planning policies, such as: 

  • Link to business rates relief, including discretionary rates relief
  • Enable access to other grants or enable ‘preferential treatment’ by grant giving bodies
  • Link to Section 106
  • Twin with the local authority’s existing workspace providers list, or inform an affordable workspace providers list where this doesn’t already exist
  • Be a pre-condition of contract for an operator
  • Tie into the local authority’s affordable workspace policy or wider planning

Timeline

Progress to date

October – December 2019

  • The GLA, London Councils and the 8 participating local authorities and OPDC met to discuss success factors of an accreditation, its potential challenges, and outline criteria that need to met by participants 

All agreed that: 

  • Resources are needed to make an accreditation meaningful – it will not self-fund
  • The accreditation demonstrates purpose over profit
  • The accreditation must not be a box-ticking exercise
  • A total of 18 criteria were developed – 10 criteria must be met in order to gain the accreditation.
  • A process for the pilot accreditation scheme was designed, including a draft application form, an accompanying Criteria Guidance booklet to provide more detail about the criteria and evidence requirements, an action development plan for workspaces, and an assessors report  

January 2020

  • All 12 workspace providers and their local authorities were introduced to the criteria and discussed the assessment process 

February 2020 – present

  • Assessment of the pilot process started  
  • Feedback, findings and recommendations are collected regularly
  • A networking group has been launched 

I’m interested in the accreditation, how can I get involved?

This is a pilot scheme which is currently being delivered and tested. However there may be plans to extend the scheme. We are putting a list of interested providers and parties together.

If you are interested in joining the scheme, or want to learn or find out more, please get in touch with Gracie Jones, Project Coordinator for the Workspace Accreditation Pilot, via gracie@capitalenterprise.org

Additional Documents and Information

  • Read the Affordability Crisis Reports
  • Read the full list of the 18 accreditation criteria here 
  • On behalf of London Growth Hub, London Business Partnership and GeraldEve’s Business Rates experts are running a series of free, short and interactive webinars for workspace providers to access professional advice and support to help them through these uncertain times. Webinars will cover topics such as access to business rates relief and other schemes, guidance on rent negotiations with landlords, and talking with your local authority. Sessions are taking place between May – October 2020, with 3 confirmed dates so far.
    Please visit the website for more information and to sign up for the webinars.

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