In 2001 the Department for Works and Pensions embarked on a ground-breaking journey to change its model of service delivery. Central to this initiative was the creation of a new agency (Jobcentre Plus) and the construction of 1000 new job-centres with an overall budget of £900 million, the largest public sector initiative in the Government’s term in office.
We were appointed as the Concept Architect for the roll-out of the Jobcentre Plus offices. Our remit was to lead the briefing process: how the design concept was communicated, and the final design validated, to both the client and the external implementation teams (Design & Build).
This was achieved through the formation of regional workshops, a detailed, scalable online design manual (developed by us), field bulletins and a dedicated support team. By providing standard tools, such as a detailed accommodation schedule, architects could then obtain a consistent brief from the local client wherever they worked. A detailed gateway approval system was developed, with our involvement taken up to final scheme handover.
The final design concept for Jobcentre Plus borrows elements from retail and civic design to provide bright, positive and comfortable accommodation that is making a significant contribution to improving the quality of life for customers and staff.