New RPS headquarters 'will better support members'
Society moves into new headquarters in East London, and says it will improve its ability to work on members’ behalf.
Source: Royal Pharmaceutical Society
The new headquarters of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) will improve what the Society can offer members, the organisation has said as it takes up residence in the head office in East London.
The RPS relocated to new premises at 66-68 East Smithfield on 29 June 2015, having moved out of its long-term home in Lambeth via temporary offices in the City of London.
RPS president Ash Soni said the new headquarters marked “an exciting new era” for the Society. “The building is purposely designed to be a 21st century building for a 21st century royal society. It will showcase both our proud history and our contemporary leading role within the pharmacy profession.”
RPS members can now access an expansive new library on the ground floor of the completely refurbished building, alongside a drop-in cafe. The RPS museum, which explores the history of pharmacy and medicines, will be displayed around the entrance lobby and will open to members and the public later in the summer.
Source: Royal Pharmaceutical Society
The premises features a large glass frontage showing the RPS’s crest and has an auditorium-style conference suite on the ground floor and an event space on the fourth floor. The building includes office space for RPS staff based in England and is equipped throughout with Wi-Fi access, modern audiovisual communication facilities and energy-saving features such as solar roof panels.
The new headquarters are located in the borough of Tower Hamlets near St Katharine Docks and Tower Hill and is easily accessible by public transport. The RPS says the location will allow the Society to continue to attract staff and be close to the UK government to influence decision-makers there.
Soni says the move will help the Society meet its business needs on behalf of members and continue to “flourish” as an organisation. The building will become the new professional “home” for members, he adds.
“Our new permanent home is in an excellent location to serve our members and enables the RPS to continue to represent and support the profession at the highest level,” he says. “It’s a fantastic building which I sincerely hope will play a key role in drawing our membership community together, as well as integrating this community with our new neighbours – the community of Tower Hamlets.”
The Lambeth site was sold for £15.4m in 2013. At the RPS annual general meeting on 24 June 2015, the Society reported it had spent £6m acquiring the new site at East Smithfield and invested £7.5m on the refurbishment of the premises.
RPS treasurer and chair of the RPS relocation board Sultan Dajani says the move will provide long-term stability for the Society. “This relocation of our headquarters was funded from the sale of our Lambeth building and the move brings a substantial saving of £500,000 a year in running costs for the RPS. With this successful relocation completed we now have an excellent London base which we are encouraging RPS members to use.”
Explaining why the Society has moved headquarters, Dajani says the Lambeth building had become too large for the organisation following the separation from the General Pharmaceutical Council in 2010. The Society would have needed to invest more than £3m to upgrade the vacant office space in order to rent it out, or face an extra £500,000 a year cost as the sole occupant, he explains. The Society decided that these potential costs, coupled with £1.5m required in essential building maintenance over the next decade, would not be sustainable, prompting the move to new premises.
Dajani adds that, in addition to the savings in running costs, the sale of the Lambeth building and the purchase and refurbishment of the new premises had provided a net capital gain of over £1m, which will be reinvested in new member services.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20068837
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