My honourable Friend the Minister of State for Employment (Damian Hinds MP) has made the following Written Statement.
DWP is today confirming the future of its estate, including Jobcentres and back office sites.
On 26th January 2017 DWP tabled a statement outlining proposals for changes to its estate, which will come into effect from 31 March 2018 when the current PFI contract with Telereal Trillium expires.
Today’s announcement confirms that the majority of those proposals will go ahead. Some smaller jobcentres will merge with larger ones, and others will be co-located with local government premises. It will mean that DWP will be able to offer a more efficient service, while delivering good value for the taxpayer, saving over £140 million a year for the next ten years.
The support provided to jobseekers will be further strengthened this year as more work coaches are recruited in every nation and region of the UK.
The plans reflect the fact that eight out of ten claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance and 99% of applications for Universal Credit Full Service claims are now made online. This means that DWP buildings are used much less with 20% of the estate currently underutilised.
Following more detailed planning work and further discussions with staff, public consultations and feedback from stakeholders, the outcomes for some sites have been revised. The attached list (DWP Estates Announcements 5 July 2017) details where such a revision has been made. There are a small number of sites where commercial negotiations are ongoing, the Department is unable to announce these plans until this process is complete. These sites are also in the attached list.
In January, we were unable to announce our proposals for some offices because negotiations with landlords had not been concluded. We are now in a position to provide an update on proposals for these offices and they are listed in the attached document.
For the vast majority of DWP offices there will be no change in location. Where we are closing a site, we will take all possible precautions to minimise disruption for customers. Vulnerable people will continue to receive home visits and postal claims where it is appropriate to do so.
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons