I recently had to visit Portland House, which is where housing and council tax issues are now dealt with.
At the old office at the Town Hall, customers could wait in a communal seating area before going to one of several private booths a number of yards away when their next consecutive number was called up.
Under the new layout at Portland House, you are allocated a number related to a particular desk, then wait in a small row of seats immediately behind the chair of the person currently being seen at your allocated desk, a matter of just two feet away and affording no privacy whatsoever to the person discussing their situation.
My visit was over a mundane council tax matter but I would have hated to have had to discuss private details of benefit claims as other people before me had to, and of which I was fully able to hear every word discussed. Lets remember that people can be dealing with matters pertaining to their most personal circumstances.
My overall impression of the new office and layout was: 9/10 for the smart modern decor; but just 1/10 for consideration to people’s rights to personal privacy.