Cardiff to host latest UK civil service “hub”

By on 10/08/2017
A designers mock-up of the Cardiff Civil Service 'Hub' (Image courtesy: Government Property Unit of the Cabinet Office).

More than 4,000 UK civil servants from different departments are to move to a centralised office in Cardiff, as part of a programme to make the civil service more modern and efficient.

The UK government’s hubs programme aims to co-locate multiple government departments in modern, purposefully designed buildings around the country. It is expected to save more than £1 billion, free up land for housing and reduce government buildings from 800 to around 200 by 2022.

The government believes that relocating civil servants from existing, often fragmented office locations to modern, cross-departmental workplaces will enable them to take advantage of the latest working practices and technology.

Collaboration will be encouraged through specially-designed areas where civil servants working on cross-departmental projects can sit together. Other areas will be designed to enable staff to carry out confidential work privately.

Flexible working encouraged

The hubs will be equipped with smart technology to enable civil servants to work more flexibly, for example, cloud-based computing systems will free staff from their desks to work in the zones best suited to getting the job done, according to the Cabinet Office, the department leading the programme.

The Cardiff hub will be located in a new 265,000 sq ft development in the city centre. The UK’s tax authority HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), will be the main occupier, with offices ready for occupation by 2020.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said that basing several departments in a single office would demonstrate the impact that could be made through greater collaboration.

“This will not only lead to better integration between departments and create an obvious cost-saving for the taxpayer, but will also send a clear message that the UK government is visible, accessible and helping to improve people’s lives in Wales,” he said.

Edinburgh and London hubs

The news follows a similar announcement last month of a deal to establish a civil service hub in Edinburgh. The 190,000 sq ft offices, in a new development near Waverley train station in the city centre, will host around 2,900 employees from 2020. HMRC is again a key department.

HMRC chief executive, Jon Thompson, said: “Locating HMRC’s new regional centre for Edinburgh in the New Waverley development is another step in HMRC’s transformation, into a modern, digitally-advanced tax authority. HMRC will bring its teams together to promote closer working relationships, and increasing our effectiveness in collecting taxes.”

Another hub is to be located an existing building in Canary Wharf, east London. Approximately 5,700 civil servants will move to the office by the end of next year.

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See also:

US federal civil service is “broken”, says NAPA

Ukraine launches civil service reform programme

Myanmar reform plan launched to strengthen civil service

 

About Catherine Early

Catherine Early is a journalist and editor specialising in government policy and regulation. She writes predominantly about environmental issues and has worked for the Environmentalist, the ENDS Report, Planning magazine and Windpower Monthly, and also written for the Guardian, the Ecologist and China Dialogue.

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