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
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
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
- All 12 workspace providers and their local authorities were introduced to the criteria and discussed the assessment process
February – October 2020
- Assessment of the pilot process started
- Feedback, findings and recommendations are collected regularly
- A networking group has been launched
We are delighted to announce that, to date, 9 of the 12 workspaces have completed the accreditation process and have achieved accreditation.
The accredited workspaces under the workspace accreditation pilot are:
- The Granville (South Kilburn Trust, Brent)
A high quality, multi-purpose space used for housing activities, events, community, co-working, offices, meetings, celebrations, and more. The Granville is run by South Kilburn Trust whose charitable work supports local people through affordable space and access to free and low-cost opportunities and support.
- PopHub Leicester Square (Interim Spaces, Westminster)
A non-profit co-working and studio space, helping ambitious creative talent into truly affordable workspace. The project is delivered by ‘meanwhile use’ specialists and charity Interim Spaces.
- The Trampery (Old Street, Hackney)
An innovation and creativity hub in the heart of the capital’s technology cluster. They provide award-winning shared workspace and studios for emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses, a private members lounge, and event and meeting space.
- International House (3Space, Brixton)
London’s largest affordable workspace in Brixton. The building is spread over 12 storeys and is facilitated by the BuyGiveWork initiative, where space is given away when space is bought. International House houses a range of tenants, including local non-profits and experimental projects.
- Tripod (Meanwhile Space, Lambeth)
A co-working space designed for creative, tech, digital, design and social businesses. Tripod provides space, support and connections to help their community develop, grow and thrive. The space is designed by award-winning local creatives Eley Kishimoto and Dolman Bowles and is based in the open plan basement of Lambeth Town Hall.
- Somerset House Exchange (Somerset House Trust, Westminster)
A dynamic shared workspace, situated in Somerset House, London’s working arts centre. The Exchange brings together diverse freelancers and small businesses working in the arts, culture, and the wider creative industry; a unique network that sparks innovation, forges connections, and offers opportunities for creative collaboration.
- Manor House Development Trust (Hackney)
Manor House Development Trust is an award-winning charitable social enterprise, focused on delivering and helping other organisations to deliver community services which are value for money and create lasting benefits. The space comprises private office space, a communal kitchen, a hall used by community groups, and houses Hackney Council’s Employability team and services.
- Creative Works (Blackhorse Road, Waltham Forest)
A Community Interest Company, shared flexible workspace and community hub. Creative Works is part of the Big Creative Village Walthamstow, providing training and opportunities to young people in the creative industries. Growth and community is at the core of Creative Works’ mission.
- Cockpit Arts (Deptford, Lewisham)
An award-winning social enterprise, recognised in 2019 on the NatWest SE100 index of top UK social enterprises. Cockpit Arts offer an expert business support package and dedicated studio space to enable makers setting out on their careers, as well as those more established, to make the most of their talent.
I’m interested in the accreditation, how can I get involved?
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 firstname.lastname@example.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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