RBS to close Drummond House and relocate 2000 staff to Gogarburn HQ in major cost-cutting move

The move will affect 2000 full-time equivalent staff.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 3:41 pm
Updated Friday, 20th December 2019, 6:25 am

Royal Bank of Scotland is to close down the largest of its remaining office space in Edinburgh, relocating upwards of 2000 staff.

The bank will close its office at Drummond House and move all staff to its Gogarburn headquarters beyond the City Bypass, a move intended to reduce property costs in Edinburgh.

RBS hopes to ‘consolidate its property portfolio’ in a bid to become a ‘simpler, smaller, UK focused bank’.

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The Drummond House office (left) will move to Gogarburn.
The Drummond House office (left) will move to Gogarburn.

The move will affect 2000 full-time equivalent staff.

The business support centre at Drummond House at the Gyle is one of two Scottish centres, alongside the other in Greenock, Inverclyde.

It was retained as a ‘centre of excellence’ at a time when the majority taxpayer-owned bank cut thousands of jobs following the financial crash.

The Gogarburn campus already functions as the bank’s central headquarters, but will require significant development to accommodate the relocated staff, due to be completed at the end of 2020.

Staff will then be relocated in phases.

The cash and coin centre at Drummond House will also be relocated, to an undisclosed location near to the existing site.

A spokesperson for RBS insisted that there will be no redundancies as a result of the move.

The Gogarburn campus is currently ‘underutilised’, especially on certain days of the week, due to flexible working and remote working arrangements with staff.

The bank will encourage staff to share facilities at Gogarburn, and increase flexible working arrangements including working from home and from other RBS sites in the city.

To achieve this the site will rely heavily on technology such as Office365 and Zoom, a video conferencing service.

Part of the ‘regeneration’ work to prepare the £350 million Gogarburn campus opened in 2005 will include improvement to the restaurant and other catering facilities, as well as more investment in restaurant facilities and transport links to the campus.

The Gogarburn headquarters, dubbed ‘Fred’s Folly’, was built by Fred Goodwin, CEO of RBS between 2001 and 2009.

Built with its own Starbucks, Tesco and hairdresser, the centre has a glass-covered street running through it.

Under the regeneration plan this street will be cultivated as a drop-in space for remote working.

In 2015 the bank announced plans to close its Dundas Street office and move 2000 employees from the city centre to its Gogarburn headquarters in a bid to save around £18 million a year.

A spokesperson for RBS said: “As we become a simpler, smaller UK focused bank and as we encourage more flexible ways of working, we no longer require the same amount of office space as we once did.

“We will be exiting Drummond House by the end of 2020, which will further reduce our property costs in Edinburgh.

“We will be regenerating our Gogarburn campus to accommodate more staff and to create a better, more flexible working environment.”

Royal Bank of Scotland currently employs almost 12,000 people, with 1.8 million personal customers and over 110,000 business customers.