It’s been just over 4 months since I joined the Places for Growth Programme – a new team within the Cabinet Office that seeks to relocate Civil Service roles out of London to the regions and nations of the UK. With a commitment in the recently published Government Estate Strategy to relocate thousands of jobs by 2030, our programme’s objectives are both broad and challenging.
With the need to address the regional imbalance of public sector roles throughout the UK, a key priority is to boost local economic growth. We are aligning closely with the National Industrial Strategy and development of Local Industrial Strategies, to strengthen the key sectors and skills of all potential locations, understand regional priorities and challenges, and ensure the best fit for the organisations that are moving.
Another goal is to tackle the recruitment, retention and related cost-of-living challenges for civil servants associated with London-based roles. We want to build sustainable career pathways out of London, with the emphasis on promoting the pathway to the Senior Civil Service without having to move there. Gone are the days of a London-centric world: stressing the quality of life, culture, and lifestyle benefits of identified destinations is a key emphasis for us.
Alongside this, minimising disruption to the lives of civil servants is central to our programme. By looking at previous public and private sector relocations and creating a portfolio of testimonials from those who have made the decision to move with their role, we aim to mitigate the risks associated. It will also allow departments and employees to prepare for the move and reduce the impact of this change to how government operates.
Our greatest ambition is to increase the social mobility and diversity of the Civil Service, so that government is truly representative of the nation it serves. Working closely with Civil Service HR we want to draw upon the brightest and the best so that we really are ‘A Brilliant Civil Service’.
The road ahead
In collaboration with colleagues in the Office of Government Property (OGP) and across government, we’re keen to promote our programme nationwide. We’re going out and speaking to city councils, universities and world-class organisations across the country, to ensure we promote the right opportunities for partnership and cooperation between the public, private and academic sectors.
And over the next 12 months we will offer expert advice on relocation, workforce planning and business case development to all government departments, so that we ensure any relocations of roles and functions are made on the basis of robust analysis and thoughtful, strategic planning.
While the task ahead will be no easy ride, the beginning of our journey has been a whirlwind adventure.
You can find out more about our programme by visiting the Office of Government Property website. You may also like to view this short video about the programme.
Comment by Cathie Stevenson posted on
To "increase Social mobility & Inclusion " so that Government is "truly representative of the nation it serves".
To draw upon the "brightest and the best" - so that we really are ‘A Brilliant Civil Service.
A typical Cliche...
Do we NEED to recruit Best ?
When we could Attract, Educate, Inspire and Retain individuals to BECOME the BEST. We have excellent opportunities to offer Apprenticeships / Fast Stream to enable individuals to overcome various barriers to work/careers by building their knowledge and experience in our Brilliant Civil Service.
Now, is that more reflective of the Nation we serve ? Supporting Social Inclusivity for all,... #SCGSMN Scotland Cross-Government Social Mobility Network.
Comment by Trevor Edwards posted on
I'm Chair of the Eastern Cross-Government Social Mobility group and have also been working on secondment within one of the most deprived areas/a region blighted by social mobility issues and lack of economic investment. This really interests me and I hope that the Eastern region figures in your plans. I'd be interested in having a chat on the subject.
Comment by Tim Reid posted on
This is great, but by 2030?
A quick search on CS Jobs (yes I am looking BTW) shows that there are zero available MOD C1 jobs available with 100 miles of where I presently work (Catterick Garrison); a few more at 125 miles and then...boom...Bristol and Westminster are the dense clusters with 4 pages of MOD jobs.
OGD SEO jobs re more available closer to me- but then I would take promotion on a pay cut...provided that interdepartmental bias doesn't sift me out early...we do use the same Core Competences don't we?
"Gone are the days of a London-centric world" Not yet dear colleague...and with a 12-year project life there is a long way to go. I want to be positive and hopeful here- truly I do and I want to stay in the Civil Service, but I just cannot see any real impact being made on moving posts away from Westminster or Bristol within 20 years, let alone 12.
For me to 'socially aspire' and progress, I have no option but to leave the CS...if the CS wants to keep me, talk me into staying and spread the opportunities around...sooner rather than later.
Comment by John posted on
The aims are obvious and not unique. It is how you achieve this. HMG has pumped an amazing amount of money into London to make a world mega-city, while pretty well ignoring the rest. What makes London such an attractive city to investment is the superb infrastructure. Half the transport budget is spent in the city. Transport, especially rail, road and air is key in promoting London.
40 years ago one third of Liverpool's metro was abandoned, men ordered off site. There is about 4 to 5 miles of tunnels and miles of surface trackbed awaiting trains that never come. Since then London has built the 30 odd station DLR metro, the Overground metro, extended the Jubilee Line, lines to Heathrow, Crossrail and now Crossrail 2. Liverpool is still waiting. Leeds does not even have trams, relying on appalling buses.
There is talk of the west to east Liverpool to Hull "high-speed" line. To work properly it needs a Pennines 'base' tunnel, which has been needed for about 130 years. I doubt we see a 'high-speed' line, just electrification of the existing winding slow cludge of lines.
The population between Liverpool and Hull is the size of many decent sized EU states. Yet they have second-world infrastructure and transportation between each other.
Schools are also much better in London than in many parts of the country also offering a huge attraction to British and foreigners to setup there.
All well and good moving civil service jobs out of the south east and may it continue, however look at the root and campaign to sort that out as well.
Comment by Ms Thompson posted on
Absolutely agree with the aims of the project and can see real value in strengthening the career pathways outside of London. I am sure that you will be aware that a significant amount of work was carried out across the Civil Service from 2004 as a result of the "Lyons Review - Independent Review of public sector relocation". I am sure there is some valuable corporate learning from this work that can inform the Places for Growth Programme.
Comment by gavin thomas posted on
Congratulations Tamsin on your appointment within the Places for growth programme. I would agree that it is important that as part of our diversity and inclusion programme that social mobility be addressed.
I do hope however that when the decision to relocate staff is taken that careful consideration is given to the personal circumstances of staff and in particular issues such as mortgages, school placements, working spouses / partners, etc. and both the financial and personal impact this can have.