January 2018

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Published on 16 January 2018

Jobcentre prepares to relocate to council offices

Teignbridge is getting ready to welcome the Jobcentre Plus into its Newton Abbot head offices.

The co-location of the Jobcentre Plus with Teignbridge District Council under one roof will improve access to local services for claimants, while providing best value for the taxpayer.

Teignbridge’s main offices at Forde House, Newton Abbot, underwent a major redesign to enable the Jobcentre services and staff to move from Sherborne House, Kingsteignton Road, into the complex less than one-mile away.

Jobcentre Plus services will run from Forde House from Tuesday 23 January.

Cllr Jeremy Christophers, Teignbridge District Council's Leader, said:

“After many months of planning and building work, we are delighted to welcome Jobcentre Plus and its staff to Forde House. Having these services under one roof is a win-win for both organisations because it will improve access to specialist help for claimants, reduce any distances they have to travel and offer the best value for the taxpayer.

"Teignbridge staff and customers have been really co-operative as this project has moved forward and I’m grateful for their patience while contractors carried out the work.”

Terri Whitten from Devon, Cornwall and Somerset District Jobcentre Plus, said:

“The move to Teignbridge District Council's premises will provide us with an excellent opportunity to work closer with our partners, while giving local people access to the full range of local and Jobcentre Plus services under one roof. Our plans are well in hand and we are working with our staff and the local authority to ensure a smooth move.

"Customers will receive exactly the same services as they do now and will be informed about the change of premises nearer the time.”

A section of the ground floor of Forde House was reorganised to accommodate the Jobcentre. The redesign offers a more modern customer support centre with improved self-help facilities such as computers which can be used by residents to access services and new interview rooms. This has freed up space and time for customer support officers to floor-walk, assist with queries and focus on people needing more specialist help or advice.

At the same time, the office redesign has enabled Teignbridge to continue managing its assets portfolio, save on overheads and reduce building running costs.

Jobcentre Plus clients will have their own separate waiting and self-help area.

Building work started in June 2017 and was completed in December 2017. The new look building was designed by Exeter-based Grainge Architects and was contracted to construction company Interserve.

Paul Gale, Divisional Director of Interserve Construction, said:

“We are pleased to have been involved in this important project for Teignbridge District Council to provide a modern, fit-for-purpose Department for Work and Pensions Jobcentre for the community in Newton Abbot and surrounding areas.

James Brookes, Director of Grainge Architects, said:

“Grainge Architects were delighted to help Teignbridge District Council in their exciting refurbishment of the Forde House office and the new main reception. Teignbridge’s forward-thinking approach to changes in how they operate was an important aspect in the redevelopment strategy.

"Phasing and delivery of the works in a safe and timely manner, whilst keeping a fully functional council building, was a challenging exercise that we were pleased to assist with.”