Skip to main content

Departmental Relocation

Volume 165: debated on Wednesday 17 January 1990

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress Departments have made under the Government's relocation policy.

On 9 February 1989 the then Paymaster General informed the House that over 34,000 Civil Service posts had been reported in the 1988 public expenditure survey as under review for location or relocation away from the south-east in accordance with the policy which had been announced on 31 March 1988. This policy does not involve any central targets for the number of posts relocated nor propose specific locations. Departments have instituted systematic review programmes to cover the location of all their work, with a view to taking advantage of the value for money benefits and advantages for staff and management which relocation can bring, and the benefits for our regional and inner-city policies of relocating work away from the south-east. It was emphasised that many reviews were then still at the earliest stage and that not all the posts would move.Since early in 1988 decisions have been taken and announced to relocate well over 16,000 posts generally over the next two or three years. These include 3,700 by Inland Revenue, 2,550 by Ministry of Defence, 1,900 by Customs and Excise, 1,850 by Department of Social Security, over 1,100 each by Department of Trade and Industry, Home Office and the Department of Employment, and 1,000 by the Department of Health. About 9,000 posts have been found to be unsuitable for relocation in the short term, and Departments have extended their reviews to include some 6,000 additional posts, leaving nearly 14,750 in the review process. Nearly all the decisions announced so far involve moving work to areas which are the focus of the Government's regional or inner-city policies. Further announcements can be expected in due course.

These figures may be compared with the 12,000 posts moved or created outside London and the south-east between 1979 and 1987, and less than 5,000 moved between 1974 and 1979.

Successful relocation requires careful planning; Departments have therefore exchanged experience and, where appropriate, co-ordinated action with other relocating Departments, found alternative posts for some staff not wishing to move, and made good use of increased flexibility in the personnel management field.