New Chapter As The BCA Becomes FlexSA

The FlexSA team, from left to right: Adele Walker (Membership Support Officer), Stacey Murray (Membership Development Executive), and Jane Sartin (Executive Director)
  • The UK’s flexible workspace trade association, the BCA (Business Centre Association), has rebranded to the Flexible Space Association (FlexSA).
  • The change reflects the diverse range of operating models in the flexible workspace industry, since the trade association was renamed the BCA in 1999.
  • The decision to rebrand the BCA comes six months after the organisation’s new Executive Director, Jane Sartin, took up the reins. 

The UK’s flexible workspace trade body, the Business Centre Association (BCA), is to become the Flexible Space Association – in response to fundamental changes in the provision of flexible space within the UK market and following consultation with members. 

The organisation is seeking to broaden its membership base, and diversify the range of voices that participate in the representative role the trade association plays with government, the authorities and the wider industry.  

The decision to rebrand the organisation comes six months after the organisation’s new Executive Director, Jane Sartin, took up the reins, who said:

“Having spent the past six months listening to our members, to respond to their feedback now is the right time to change the organisation’s name and renew its strategic purpose.

“We are seeing a shift away from the traditional workspace arrangements and environments, to a more overarching approach to flexible space.  Our new name reflects this, ensuring that it encompasses the full range of providers within the sector.  

“As the industry continues to grow, the Flexible Space Association will be working to increase our membership, ensuring that we are an effective voice for the industry, and are providing the support and services our members need.” 

The new name reflects the emergence of a diverse range of new operating models in the flexible workspace industry, since the trade association was renamed the BCA in 1999.

Since then, accelerators, incubators, coworking and event spaces have grown in prominence, increasing the array of choices entrepreneurs and businesses have when determining the type of environment they wish to operate in. Recent studies have estimated there are 1.3 million workers currently using coworking spaces alone. 

The Flexible Space Association, which will be known in abbreviated form as FlexSA, will continue to act as the industry voice for its existing members. This includes large multi-location flexible space providers such as Bruntwood, IWG and The Office Group, as well as single-location providers such as The Deep Business Centre in Hull, The Hive in Southend and the Kinetic Centre in Hertfordshire.

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In recent years, the BCA has proactively lobbied government on issues including the impact business rates and permitted development rights have had on the potential growth of the industry, and this work will continue. 

Whilst maintaining its current activity, FlexSA will also seek to proactively attract new members among the estimated 5,000 flexible workspace operators in the UK currently, with a renewed focus on making the organisation the natural home for providers seeking a trade association to represent their interests.  

Flexible Space Association Chair and Bruntwood Commercial Director, Andrew Butterworth, welcomed the move, adding:

“The flexible space industry is leading the way in responding to customer requirements for greater levels of service, amenity and flexibility. Operators are increasingly offering different solutions to the challenges that these requirements pose, so the business centre, which was the model that once dominated the industry, now sits happily alongside increasingly popular offerings such as accelerators, incubators, coworking and event spaces.  

“The next decade will see unprecedented changes to the workplace as changing customer demands, and technology, transform the future delivery of space. The Flexible Space Association is well placed to help the industry harness the benefits that change will bring.”

Existing FlexSA members also welcomed the announcement. Olly Olsen, Co-Founder and CEO of The Office Group (TOG), said:

“We welcome this new chapter for the BCA at a time of change in the flexible workspace industry. The change of name and the fresh outlook FlexSA will bring, more closely reflects the offering we have developed in the past 16 years. The term business centre no longer encapsulates the array of different models we now see in provision of flexible space in the UK.”

Douglas Green, Director of FlexSA member, GKRE, added: 

“There are now more than 5,000 flexible workspace operators in the UK and the sector continues to change at a rapid rate. Historically the business centre was at the very forefront of the flexible workspace revolution in the UK, but there are now a diverse range of offerings of all shapes and sizes that exist within the marketplace. It is, therefore, essential that the body seeking to represent the sector reflects the diversity of operators now engaged in flexible space provision and the Flexible Space Association will be well placed to do that moving forward.”

All former BCA channels have been updated including a new website: www.FlexSA.co.uk.

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