Estate management
Job Centre Plus

Negotiating terms with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on behalf of Worcestershire County Council, to explore the opportunity for Jobcentre Plus teams to occupy space within a number of Worcestershire libraries.

The brief

We were asked by Worcestershire County Council library services to investigate whether a number of county libraries (Malvern, Bromsgrove, Redditch and Kidderminster) could accommodate Jobcentre Plus offices without compromising existing library services, or incurring additional costs to the library.

Our approach

Each library is unique, with its own benefits and limitations. Some are housed in modern buildings, arranged over several floors, while others are older, and based on one level.

Having reviewed the proposals in depth it became apparent that a planning application would be required, as the co-location would lead to a change of use.

Once we had completed our feasibility studies we requested delegated authority (including licence fee and the formula for calculating the service charge) for each scheme from Worcestershire County Council.

By securing agreement on the heads of terms works and appointing contractors, we paved the way for Jobcentre Plus services to be incorporated into county libraries.

Services we provided

  • agreeing a suitable service charge, calculated by proportioning costs at varying percentage amounts for individual services
  • calculating and getting agreement on the licence fee
  • agreeing layouts within each library that provide sufficient space to accommodate Jobcentre Plus while minimising impact on existing library services
  • producing heads of terms and gaining approval from all parties involved

The results

Library running costs reduced, use of space maximised

All four of the libraries mentioned above now have shared occupation, demonstrating that both Place Partnership partners and third parties such as the DWP can effectively share the same location. This project has helped to reduce library running costs and generate a secure, ongoing income from a licensee with a strong covenant.

  • Space allocated for use by Jobcentre Plus at each library location

  • Licence fee negotiated in line with market levels

  • Service charge negotiated and approved

  • Heads of terms negotiated for a 10-year licence agreement