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Ensure that civil service operational headquarters are centred around Britain

Last updated: 03:07pm 8 December 2019

We will ensure that senior posts move too, so that operational headquarters as well as administrative functions are centred not in London but around Britain. And we will do so in a way that encourages the development of new clusters of public services, private businesses and, where appropriate, universities.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.34

Our verdict

London has the highest proportion of civil service employment by region, especially with regards to senior grades. In 2016, 18.6% of all civil servants were based in London. However, according to analysis from the Institute for Government, since 2010, London has accounted for by far the highest proportion of senior grades, at around 67% of all senior civil servants. To put this in context, the region with the second highest proportion of senior grades is the South West, accounting for 6%. In a drive to decentralise public administration, this policy promised to move civil service operational headquarters across Britain.

In April 2018, the Government Property Agency was launched to “improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Government Estate”.

In July 2018, the government launched its Estate Strategy, reaffirming the commitment to open 20 new hubs, to move thousands of civil servants away from London and the South East by 2022.

By November 2018, 14 hubs had been announced. Also, the Places for Growth Programme had been launched, a “team within the Cabinet Office that seeks to relocate Civil Service roles out of London”. Two more hubs in Birmingham and Peterborough were announced in October 2019.

The government has set out a strategy to decentralise senior public service employment, set up a property agency, established a team within the Cabinet Office to implement the strategy,  and announced 16 new civil service hubs. We think there’s enough evidence to say this is ‘done’.

Ensure the facts!

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