Co-location improves local access to services
The Highland Council and Department for Work and Pensions are implementing plans to improve accessibility to their services. This joint venture will see the jobcentre staff co-locating with the Council and other services in the council’s new modern office developments in both Fort William and Wick.
The services will be available in the new council offices at the Charles Kennedy Building, Achintore Road, Fort William from 4 December and in the new council offices at Caithness House, Market Place, Wick from 11 December 2017.
Chair of the Lochaber Committee, Councillor Andrew Baxter and Chair of the Caithness Committee, Councillor Donnie Mackay have welcomed the plans. They said: “This is really good news for service users in Lochaber and Caithness. Customers visit Council offices in Fort William and Wick to access a range of services including registering births, helping with Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction enquiries & Council entitlements, such as School Clothing Grants, signing council house tenancies, viewing planning information and to enquire about other services. This latest development means that customers can also receive services from the DWP from the same building, such as maintain their welfare benefit claims and receive support from their job centre work coach to find a job or to increase their hours while also accessing other services.”
Councillor Alasdair Christie, Depute Leader and Chair of the Council’s People Committee, said: “This is a fresh and exciting approach to delivering services that places customers at the heart of design and provides modern and accessible facilities for residents. This joint venture will enable staff from both organisations to work alongside each other, improving how the building is used, whilst at the same time reducing the overall property costs of the public estate and greatly improving the way in which our customers access services.”
The North of Scotland Jobcentre Plus District Manager, Carol Dutch commented:
“I am delighted to be working in partnership with The Highland Council to deliver an enhanced and improved customer service in the newly developed local authority premises located in Fort William and Wick. This one stop shop will allow claimants to access a wide range of services, while providing value for money for taxpayers.”