The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has justified its decision to remain in London in the face of criticism from fee-payers.
A “number of respondents” to a GPhC consultation on fee rises had suggested that the organisation should move its headquarters outside of the capital to save money, the regulator said in notes from its council meeting last week (June 11).
The GPhC moved its offices from Lambeth to Canary Wharf last September, and GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin stressed that it would have been “completely wrong for the organisation to move out of London”.
It was “very important” that the GPhC did not “lose all the experienced staff we’d started to build”, and this was a “powerful factor” in its decision to remain in the city, Mr Rudkin told C+D in an exclusive interview on Monday (June 15).
Mr Rudkin welcomed the points raised by respondents to the GPhC consultation, which ran from February to May.
It would have been “a shame” if the GPhC had not been confronted on its office costs, he said. “The accommodation for all organisations is a line of cost, so it’s right that it is scrutinised,” he said.
The regulator had undergone a “thorough process with external advice” when deciding on the location of its new headquarters, pointed out Mr Rudkin. He stressed its offices at Canary Wharf provided “good value for registrants”.
The GPhC had also started to hire out its hearing rooms “from time to time” when it had spare capacity, he said.
“We are not missing out on any opportunity to challenge ourselves to manage and contain costs wherever we can,” Mr Rudkin added.
How much does the new GPhC headquarters cost?
Last year, the regulator said it had been quoted an annual rent of £35 per square foot - equating to £1,347,500 - for its new premises in 25 Canada Square.
At the time, the GPhC stressed that this figure did not reflect the total value of the deal, which it would not fully reveal because the details were commercially sensitive. It pointed out that it would be exempt from paying VAT on rent in Canary Wharf.
In comparison, the General Medical Council paid £3.7 million to rent its London headquarters in 2012, while the General Dental Council only paid £351,000 to rent three London premises for the same year.