Guide Dogs is aiming to save millions through an efficiency campaign which includes moving head office and changing how it trains its dogs, delegates at Civil Society Media’s Charity Property Conference heard this week.
Roz Gratton, head of property services at the charity, said Guide Dogs had launched a “smarter working” programme integrating property, IT and HR services.
She said the charity currently operates out of over 40 properties, which are a mixture of freehold and leasehold. Its head office is based in Reading where it has poor public transport links.
Its staff currently drive 6.4 million miles a year in the course of business.
Gratton said that the charity plans to move its head office location, but has always considered it a too high cost process and that it has been a “major challenge” for them.
The charity has started the background work of relocating, but is yet to decide where and when it wants to move.
The charity is also moving to a flexible working system which allows staff to work more easily from external locations.
Gratton said the charity has also conducted an in depth review of its dog training, which highlighted the potential to reduce training times from 30 weeks to 25 weeks, potentially saving several million pounds.
The charity, which looks after 8,000 dogs, formed one of several case studies who reported on their experiences with property at the conference on Tuesday.
Ray Brooks, the charity’s chief information officer, spoke about how property and IT is very closely intertwined.
He said that when he joined Guide Dogs two years ago there was no wifi in any of the buildings, and there were fundamental problems with the network, which have now been solved.