Government to move 2,500 officials to ‘digitally enabled’ Manchester hub

Written by Tevye Markson on 17 June 2022 in News

The city centre facility will include hundreds of civil service posts relocated from London

Credit: Crown Copyright/Open Government Licence v3.0

Thousands of civil servants will move to a new building in the centre of Manchester, the government’s efficiency minister has announced.

The First Street hub, which is less than ten minutes’ walk from train stations Deansgate and Manchester Oxford Road, will open in 2025 and host 2,500 civil servants.

The government claimed that the building (an artist's impression of which is pictured above) will provide officials with a “digitally enabled office space” that will offer a range of “different types of areas for people to work and collaborate, as well as enabling efficiencies through interoperability”.

The Manchester site will be designed to be “class-leading”, meeting inclusive and accessible design standards, the Cabinet Office added.

More than 700 staff in the building will be officials who have already moved from London to Manchester. The total number of civil service jobs moving from London to Manchester over the next three years will 2,500, as part of a commitment to relocate 22,000 civil service roles out of the capital by 2030 as part of the government’s Places for Growth programme.  

Departments moving roles to the First Street site will include the Cabinet Office, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Department for Education and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

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The First Street hub will provide a new home for civil servants currently based at the Piccadilly Gate office, which will be demolished to build a new HS2 station.

Government efficiency minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said the announcement “reaffirms" the government’s long-term commitment to Manchester.

“I am pleased that the government has secured them a new home with office working at its heart, which will bring tens of millions of pounds to the Greater Manchester economy,” he added.

Moving staff to Manchester is expected to generate £31m in economic benefits for the city, due to increased footfall and spending by staff, according to the Cabinet Office.

The Government Property Agency signed a lease agreement on Tuesday with developer Ask Real Estate and joint venture partner The Richardson Family, for the 12,000 square metre site on First Street.

The site is part of the Government Hubs Programme, which will set up around 50 new regional hubs by 2030. The programme is part of plans to reduce the number of government-owned office buildings from 800 to under 200 by 2030, with hundreds of smaller offices earmarked for closure.

Clive Anderson, the GPA’s director of capital projects, said the programme will help to support the government’s ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 by providing smaller, better and greener estate.

“The hubs create modern, inclusive environments where departments can be collocated in shared buildings across the UK,” he said. “This supports the government’s levelling up agenda and Places for Growth initiative, encouraging the movement and creation of jobs outside London.”


About the author

Tevye Markson is a reporter at PublicTechnology sister publication Civil Service World, where a version of this story first appeared. He tweets as @TevyeMarkson.

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