MSD in new offices on Monday

Welcoming space . . . Ministry of Social Development service centre manager Robyn Dawson checks out the cubicle spaces, which will provide clients more privacy during visits to the new service centre at John Wickliffe House, set to open on Monday. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

A light, welcoming and family-friendly new service centre will greet Ministry of Social Development clients on Monday.

The doors of the service centre in St Andrew St will close for good at the end of the day tomorrow and about 43 front-line staff will make the move to new premises on the ground floor of John Wickliffe House, in the Exchange.

A further 45 staff in MSD’s regional and benefit fraud teams will also move to John Wickliffe House and be based elsewhere in the building.

The new service centre on the ground floor will open at 11.30am on Monday.

MSD service centre manager Robyn Dawson said the new centre had been designed with partitioned cubicles to give clients more privacy when talking with staff.

“Our front-of-house is designed to be client-friendly and we will have a children’s area full of activities for children to engage in,” Ms Dawson said.

The design of the new service centre is in line with other MSD centre refits around the country and feedback from clients had been included, such as creating cubicles and the colour scheme, which features lime green.

“We want to ensure that the centre feels user-friendly and welcoming,” Ms Dawson said.

About 17,500 MSD clients, including 12,500 superannuitants, will also make the move to the new service centre, along with about 10,000 students accessing StudyLink.

Ms Dawson said MSD staff had visited the new space during this week and were excited to be making the move.

“It is nice to be moving to a comfortable new space.”

MSD embarked on a search for new premises in mid-2019, after receiving word that its St Andrew St site would be required for the Dunedin Hospital rebuild.

At the time, MSD regional commissioner Jason Tibble said John Wickliffe House would be a good fit for the centre, offering privacy, flexibility and accessibility, as well as more natural light and an outdoor courtyard space.

Initially, there will be an accessible entrance off Water St for clients with mobility issues, wheelchair-users and prams, while a lift and ramp are installed at the main entrance.

The refit of the John Wickliffe House ground floor is being completed to MSD specifications by building owner Plaza Property Trust, which declined to reveal details of the budget for the work.

The move does not affect the South Dunedin and Mosgiel MSD service centres, which will continue to operate as normal.