Defra has announced a new core hub office in Newcastle upon Tyne, increasing job opportunities and increasing the department’s presence in the North East of England.
Defra already has staff based around the UK, with current hub offices in London, York and Bristol. The latest announcement demonstrates the government’s commitment to the region, with more than 1,000 roles at the Treasury, Department for International Trade and others moving to Darlington.
This move will enhance and support the close working and co-location between existing Defra staff in Newcastle, and arms-length body colleagues from the Marine Management Organisation, the Rural Payments Agency, Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission.
Newcastle was selected due to its "skilled and vibrant pool of professionals in the local community", as well as its "excellent transport links" to and from the other hubs, according to a statement. The new hub will be based at the department’s existing Lancaster House site.
Defra will also be establishing a presence in Edinburgh and Cardiff from January 2022 and plans for Northern Ireland will follow.
These measures and the Newcastle hub support the government’s wider Places for Growth programme, which aims to move 22,000 roles out of London to build a more diverse and inclusive civil service. The Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities (formerly Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) opened a new HQ building in Wolverhampton in September.
James is the Editor of Government Transformation magazine, and has been covering digital government and public sector reform for 20 years. He also oversees the development of the UK's biggest network of public sector transformation conferences.