Levelling Up: Making a success of relocations

Illustration by Katy Smith
March 2, 2021
United Kingdom
Levelling up

In spring 2020, the UK government pledged to move 22,000 civil service jobs out of London by 2030. The strategy forms a key part of prime minister Boris Johnson’s plans to “level up” areas outside the South-East and promote civil service reform.

Relocations will bring “decision-makers close to people” and support fair distribution of “opportunity, jobs and investment”, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has said. And work is already afoot: new hub offices are planned in cities including Belfast, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham, while Peterborough is set to welcome 1,000 civil servants from HM Passport Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2022.

But previous efforts to decentralise staff have had mixed results: in the late 2000s, for example, the Office for National Statistics moved to Newport in Wales, but 90% of its London staff stayed put – leaving the agency with resource and skills shortages. Bringing together senior leaders and topical experts, this webinar will consider how civil service bodies can make a success of relocations – including topics such as which functions to move and which locations to choose; how to support collaboration and career progression in a distributed workforce; and the likely impact of changes to working practices prompted by the pandemic.

In an era of remote working, a more dispersed civil service could broaden the talent pool and diversify the workforce, while spreading public investment more evenly across the country. This webinar will explore how to realise the opportunities – and avoid the pitfalls.