Visit: HM Treasury - 1 Horse Guards Road, Whitehall

In March I visited the offices of Her Majesty's Treasury and Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs at 1 Horse Guards Road. Designed by architect John Brydon, the building is usually identified by its large circle court in the centre of the plan which is based on Inigo Jones' plan for a new Whitehall Palace.

Whilst touring 1 Horse Guards Road, I was informed about the current running of the offices, especially in regard to their regional arms. I was informed that although they have offices within the regions, they tend to be administrative and are usually a way of saving money as office space, rent and therefore salaries are cheaper in the northern regions as opposed to that of London its surrounding counties.

As I toured the offices it became evident that they were being redesigned to be as open as possible and I was informed that the move towards 'hot-desking' was very much in full swing as many of the employees spend a lot of their days traveling between departments. Due to the building being listed, the changes that have been made have resulted in some poorly lit working spaces and obviously not all work can take place in open plan offices so there were provisions dotted around for one-to-one and small group conversations. As much of the work taking place is confidential I found it rather interesting that the 'pods' created for these conversations didn't have roofs on so any conversations taking place was likely to be overheard (!)

The main focus of this trip was to identify if there were any major differences between how these offices work in comparison to most other businesses and in summary, despite the grandness of the building, they don't differ too much. The fact that many of the staff are traveling between departments regularly across London is something I intend to research into further - are they open to influence by other members of the public, think tank employees, parliamentarians whilst on the transport network? How much of their time is spent at a desk? Could department employees be immersed in the environment which their policy intends to influence i.e. schools, hospitals? Are they already doing this?

Tom Ardron