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FCA staff express safety concerns over new Stratford office

The Stratford area the FCA will move in to next year

An internal report has revealed FCA staff concerns over the regulator’s imminent move from Canary Wharf to Stratford, particularly over the safety of the new site.

Over an eight-week period in May, FCA staff we consulted on the regulator’s office change. Money Marketing has obtained a copy of a report from a staff committee on the feedback received.

The committee notes that reaction to the consultation was “relatively muted” with a response rate of just 10 to 15 per cent.

One of the key themes to emerge was over the security of the Stratford area where FCA staff will be based from 2018.

While some staff described Stratford as “significantly gentrified” others expressed “significant concerns” over Stratford’s safety, including over “knife crime and gangs.”

There was a “general perception that Stratford is less safe than [the FCA’s] current location” the consultation report notes, with FCA staff reassured by private security that is currently visible in Canary Wharf.

It reads: “A number stated they felt intimidated by the area, and would avoid working late or travelling outside of daylight hours wherever possible.”

Some staff said the FCA should put on a shuttle bus between the station and office, or personal security alarms on request.

The report quotes an employee survey from 2016, where 60 negative comments were received about the safety of the Stratford area compared to one positive.

Some staff suggested the FCA should hire out office space in Canary Wharf and the City so FCA staff who visit regularly have a place to work between meetings.

The FCA has decided to amend its policy so that if staff work past 9pm they can arrange a taxi home. The committee proposed further dialogue with police and local authorities over particular security concerns when sporting events were being held at the nearby Olympic stadium.

A proposal was also put forward by the committee to offer compensation for the first year to staff who incur “unavoidable” additional travel costs to get to Stratford.

However, this will not extend to those who want to catch high-speed trains into Stratford. There is also no proposal for staff with care responsibilities that are affected by the move to receive financial compensation.

The committee suggested that all staff should receive a flexible working “allowance”, for example, where they would not need to provide a reason for working from home for one day a week.

The commitee concludes: “We consider that the proposals as a whole would have benefitted from more information and detail.”

The move is costing the regulator roughly £60m.

An FCA spokeswoman says: “Stratford was chosen because it offers a compelling mix of an exciting location, a quality building with excellent transport links and facilities and the right infrastructure to meet our future needs. The location is close to both the City and Canary Wharf so we are near our main stakeholders and accessible to others.
“However we acknowledge that there will be issues that some staff will be concerned about regarding the FCA’s decision to move to Stratford. We undertook a consultation supported by our Staff Consultation Committee to help understand these concerns and manage the impact of the move on our staff. We are pleased at how engaged staff were to the consultation and have considered the responses carefully.
“We have signed a 20 year lease with a rent-free period of approximately 40 months.   The fit-out of the new building (c£60m) will be predominantly funded by the rent-free period.  We will benefit from further operating cost efficiencies as a result of the new building, particularly in energy use and maintenance.”

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Comments

There are 25 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Lost for words!!!

  2. Nicholas Pleasure 31st October 2017 at 9:37 am

    How can it cost £60m. How? If it is costing £60m why are they doing it, why not just stay put.

    More to the point, why not move out to somewhere more central and cheaper like Birmingham; certainly for the parts that are regulating intermediaries and insurers. I appreciate the banking bit may need to remain in London.

    Moving out of the city may bring the regulator down to earth.

    Spending OPM is very easy.

    • I would agree somewhere like Birmingham would be good and it might help change the elitist London centric view.

    • HSBC and Deutsche Bank are relocating 4,500 banking staff to Birmingham; so why should the FCA banking staff have to remain? Do they not have Broadband, Skype and mobile phone networks in the midlands?

  3. No such problems in Macclesfield

  4. This site is the old Olympics site right next to the posh new(ish) shopping centre. All the public transport is right next door and bristling with security.

    They won’t have to go anywhere near any of the dodgy bits of Stratford.

    People don’t like change. Simple as.

  5. So, working in what is most likely the UK number one tourist target is safe?
    Is this more about we don’t want to say good by to our London allowances and move home?
    Welcome to the real world, you should move to Newport S Wales, I wonder what they would think of that?

  6. Didn’t they used to be based in Stoke until they realised they could be in London for 5 times the cost and claim the London allowance?

  7. Come to Sunny Telford for about a third of the cost.

  8. Heres an idea. If the staff don’t feel safe, then change job. Nobody is forcing them to stay put.

  9. take the high road road 31st October 2017 at 12:52 pm

    the second last committee suggestion has got to be a joke!

    The committee suggested that all staff should receive a flexible working “allowance”, for example, where they would not need to provide a reason for working from home for one day a week.

    …so, that’ll be paid for 5 days a week but just have to be seen working for 4, in civil servant language!!

  10. A 10-15% response rate from staff !

  11. Come t’North, it’s grand I tell thee.

    We’ve got proper beer wi an ed onit, flat caps, clogs an Whippet racing.

    You’d be able to sell them pokey houses you live in an buy a castle up here. We’re still waiting for some leccy and that cobbled bit o’ M6 is tricky if thee drives t’hoss an cart too quick.

    Nay worries tho’ we’ll soon have it fettled for thee once we get that t’intenet thingy.

  12. No, no you lot have got it all wrong when it comes to an alternative location. Birmingham is all well and good, but the Scilly Isles are a much better fit.

  13. 15% turnout from snobs? P45 in the post

  14. 60 negative responses from a staff roster of about 3,000 is hardly an earth-shattering news item. I don’t recall seeing or hearing it reported in the national media.

    As suggests Marty Y, if they’re such wimps as to be terrified at the prospect of having to commute to Stratford instead of Canary Wharf, they’re quite at liberty to seek alternative employment.

    And anyway, the distance from Canary Wharf station to Stratford station is a mere 2¾ miles. Anyone would think they’re being asked to relocate to Outer Mongolia. (I expect that many of us wish they were, but that’s by the by.)

  15. The Olympic Park at Stratford is a fantastic area and environment to work in as well as live in with all the new developments…. what are they going on about?

    • Well I guess that’s one opinion. Personally I think it is just about the crappiest area in London – just look at the environs.

      Moss Side in Manchester is preferable to that midden hole.

  16. In other news the FCA staff were invited to “Join the real world”

  17. How is this even news – Let alone the most commented article on a financial advice website???

    ’10 people in a staff survey said something about something’

    The future of financial journalism.

  18. Dear Editor/Moderator/ Web Manager

    It would be greatly appreciated if you would desist in allowing Linked In to pop up every time one wishes to make a comment. I have to delete it every time. I have no intention of participating with that site.

  19. What everyone above said, doubled!

  20. Oh God! If you want something doing right, kill Baldrick first!

    Look:

    Firstly, it’s OUR £60 million quid, NOT the FCA’s, an organisation almost as innumerate as the Treasury Department.

    Secondly, The FCA probably think it’s a good idea to work somewhere that looks snot, don’t you?

    Thirdly, I’d love to muscle in on whoever the FCA’s Gas and Electricity providers are; my God!If a £60 Million quid spend can be off-set by a quick 10 minutes on U-Switch, those beggars must be making as much as King George spends a month on socks! And the Janitor, too!” God only knows what they must be paying him at the present Gaf!

    I wonder how many people out there who aren’t super annuated half-wits are ever offered the luxury of a day working from home whenever they want to look over their Turnip collection, or who get offered travel allowances and possibly even compensation for the dire consequences of not having a Pret A Manger by the front door.

    Un-believable!

  21. There is a Prêt outside!

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