Staff could move into empty job centre in Blackpool

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A former Blackpool job centre could be taken over by the council as a base for its children's services department.

The building on Queen Street has been empty for around two years since Jobcentre Plus relocated to the council's Municipal Buildings on Corporation Street.

The former job centre on Queen Street

The former job centre on Queen Street

Now it has emerged the premises opposite Central Library could be used to house up to 300 children's services staff.

Currently staff are housed across three separate sites and there is not enough room in the council's main town centre offices at Bickerstaffe House to accommodate all the workers.

Basing all the staff in one building is part of the improvement plan put in place after children's services was rated inadequate by Ofsted in December 2018.

Director of children's services Diane Booth told a meeting of the Children and Young People's Scrutiny Committee the former job centre was one of the few buildings in the town centre big enough for her department's needs.

She said: "I went to our property department and this is what they have been able to find for me that's in the town centre.

"We need to move services from across three sites and there is not enough room in Bickerstaffe House.

"Bickerstaffe is also not conducive to a family friendly approach. We need a reception area that is family friendly, and private rooms for meetings."

If the relocation goes ahead, other agencies which work with children's social workers, such as the police exploitation team and the MASH (multi-agency safeguarding hub) would also move into the building.

Councillors asked for more information about the potential move to be brought to a future meeting of the committee.