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Jobcentres

This section explains what zones and areas a Jobcentre will include.

Jobcentres are the main customer-facing Jobcentre Plus offices and deliver services and support such as initial customer interviews and job search advice and reviews.

The Design Concept

The Design Concept can be considered as “part civic, part retail”, and wholly supports the business process and organisational structure.

There are many customer comfort and staff security issues involved in the creation of an open-plan office environment. An appreciation of these issues has led to the development of a range of component elements to provide practical solutions to the processes and activities that take place. The strategy for the application of these components, across a range of locations and building types, aims to create an open and pleasant environment for both staff and customers, and a brand image that will be consistently recognised.

The interior design of the Jobcentre should provide a bright, accessible environment that balances a retail “feel” with a simple, straightforward approach. The design of the office furniture and fittings has been carefully considered to deal with a wide range of operational and ergonomic requirements, using a clearly unified family of component elements, and simplicity and a lack of unnecessary detail should provide a consistent backdrop for these.

Lighting, colour walls and graphic communications combine to reflect the Jobcentre Plus brand values in all parts of the interior, including the "back-of-house" (BoH) staff areas.

The main branding and signage section explains Jobcentre Plus branding and how it relates to Jobcentres.

Jobcentre buildings

Experience indicates that a “front of house” (FoH) floorplate with a depth of 12.5m to 15m, with a planning sub grid reflecting these dimensions, is preferable. Architects should evaluate the existing open-plan and cellular accommodation to establish its suitability. The size and location of existing cellular rooms should be assessed in respect of future use, with minimal demolitions considered to create an ideal open-plan office area.

Separate entrances

There must be separate entrances for customers and staff. Within the constraints of the site, these should be separated as far as possible. Where the Jobcentre includes screened services, the design calls for the screened services to have their own “one way” exit to the street, rather than back into the FoH area.

Accessibility

Customers and staff with a range of disabilities may require access to Jobcentre Plus offices. Whilst services can usually be brought to ground floor locations for customers with limited mobility, or alternative service delivery models considered, access throughout all the office areas is required for all staff, whenever it is reasonably achievable.

Enhanced Accommodation Schedule (EAS)

The Enhanced Accommodation Schedule (EAS) can provide a framework for designers to establish the business requirements for FoH and BoH and to convert job roles into desk numbers. The designer, working with Jobcentre Plus, must explore opportunities for space saving by, for example, multi-use of components.

Circulation routes

Clear circulation routes are required for both staff and customers throughout the office, in accordance with good planning principles and statutory requirements.

Primary circulation routes should be established for customers moving through the office from the Forum to interview desks, pay points, waiting areas and entrances to screened services. The footprint of the support and advice desks, in relation to the shape and width of the office, will dictate the maximum width of these routes and the amount of customer waiting that can be planned into them.

The health and safety requirement is for staff circulation routes, into and through a building, to be separate and secure from public access. Staff routeways should provide access to all the office facilities, including BoH and screened services, without crossing customer circulation routes. The route from the finance office to where payments are made (if provided) needs special care.

In offices with public access to more than one floor, staff and customers must use separate staircases. Lifts and their use must be carefully controlled to ensure that customers and staff do not share a lift and that customers cannot access ‘staff only” floors.