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The Roll-out of the Jobcentre Plus Office Network: Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General - HC Session 2007-08 (Paperback)Great Britain: National Audit Office
Paperback Published: 22/02/2008
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The roll-out of Jobcentre Plus is one of the largest public sector construction programmes undertaken in the UK in recent years. It enabled the Department for Work and Pensions to integrate the work of two government agencies (the Employment Service and the Benefits Agency) into Jobcentre Plus in 2002 and the rationalisation of an estates portfolio of 1,500 offices.The project was well managed, particularly the procurement aspect, where between GBP 120 million and GBP 140 million worth of savings were made. The project has clear lessons for other public sector procurement programmes. Most of the offices were rolled out within four years as originally planned although factors outside the control of the project team meant that 80 offices were delivered in an additional fifth year of construction.The National Audit Office has found that whilst this delay had an impact on the speed of improvements to customer services locally, it did not have any major operational or financial affects on the programme. Operating out of fewer offices has released about 20 per cent of the Jobcentre Plus estate, resulting in an overall saving in running costs of GBP 135 million a year by 2006-07. The total cost so far of disposing of buildings is GBP 42 million, estimated to rise to GBP 56 million once this process is complete.Overall, customer satisfaction with the new network is high with the majority - 86 per cent - of people who use the new Jobcentre Plus fairlly or very satisfied with the results. However, in some other respects the quality of customer service may initially have reduced, particularly for customers unable to reach contact centres by telephone.