Kidderminster and Redditch Libraries are set to share accommodation with their local Job Centres from the Spring of next year following full ministerial approval to go ahead.
Worcestershire County Council began re-location discussions with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in 2015/16 having identified opportunities to share space in two of their libraries, and to meet savings targets by generating rental income.
Library Service proposals were shared with Worcestershire residents in September 2016 and were put forward for planning approval shortly afterwards.
Cllr Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Communities said: "Getting the go ahead for these proposals is very good news for us and our local communities. Sharing library space with DWP reduces our costs and assures the future of local libraries, with minimal impact on frontline services. We already have successful co-location with the Job Centre in Malvern Library and Bromsgrove Parkside, where customers have benefitted from upgraded library facilities and improved services for jobseekers. It is anticipated that the work needed for the co-locations at Kidderminster and Redditch, which will include an upgrade of both libraries, will be complete by Spring 2018".
Cllr Karen May, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Transformation and Commissioning said:
"The agreements to share Kidderminster and Redditch Libraries with DWP will add to our increasing number of successful collaboration projects across Worcestershire where local public sector and national Government agencies have co-located within County Council buildings. This has enabled the Council to bring substantial saving benefits in reducing running costs and maximising the use of our buildings".
The Kidderminster and Redditch Library proposals respond to the National One Public Estate Programme which seeks to deliver efficiencies through better use of public property. This helps reduce public spend on buildings and protect front line services.
Weekly drop-in Job Clubs are already part of the service provided by the Libraries and Learning Service working in partnership with the DWP and giving help and support to job seekers with all aspects of job searching and work experience placements.