Defra staff set for Marsham Street move as leases expire

Written by Civil Service World on 10 January 2017 in News

Civil servants spread across three sites will share offices with the Home Office and DCLG by next year

Defra is set to join the Home Office and DCLG at 2 Marsham Street. Image by Steve Cadman under CC BY-SA 2.0

Staff at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will soon be sharing offices with their Home Office and communities department colleagues, under relocation plans announced by Defra's permanent secretary Claire Moriarty.

In a move Defra claimed would eventually shear £2m-a-year from its property costs, staff currently spread across three different London sites will move to Westminster's 2 Marsham Street – which has served as the Home Office's headquarters since 2005 and DCLG's base since 2014 – by early next year.

At present, Defra and its agencies are based at Ergon House, 9 Millbank, and Nobel House. The leases on Ergon House and 9 Millbank end in June, and those sites will be redeveloped into residential property, with Nobel House staff also moving to Marsham Street.

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"The expiry of leases at two of our properties has made it possible to take this opportunity to bring Defra group people in London together into one purpose-built office," said Moriarty.

"We are now busy drawing up a detailed relocation schedule with the current occupants of 2 Marsham Street with my aim for Defra group to complete the move by early 2018."

The move to a shared site comes against the backdrop of wider government plans to cut the number of sites occupied by departments by 75% by 2023, with organisations increasingly encouraged to work in multi-department "Government Hubs".

The government's central London estate, which has already been reduced from 181 separate properties in 2010 to 54 today, is also in line for further reductions. Last year's government-wide property strategy said the current Whitehall footprint would be cut to "20 efficient, fit-for-purpose buildings by 2025, supported by smarter working".

The Cabinet Office has already confirmed that 6,000 full-time civil service and public sector jobs – including HMRC roles – will move from Whitehall to Canary Wharf by 2018.

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Submitted on 10 January, 2017 - 13:33
Whoever came up with the scheme to relocate jobs from cheap offices to more expensive ones was clearly out of their mind and certainly has no judgement whatsoever. Anyone in the Department should have known the consequences of moving staff long distances and the costs involved. They should also have been fully aware that moving large numbers of staff from offices eg costing £7.40 per square foot to proposed offices costing £16 + per square foot does not save money.( example is Warrington office moving to Liverpool possible site of India building) Any new centres should be placed where the cost per foot is less than existing ones. Moving inner London staff to outer London would have cut costs. Whereas moving Staff from Norwich to London clearly does not. Logistics of staff moves should have been the first consideration taking account of where people live rather than just seeing that as the majority of staff work in town X, eg Manchester , Liverpool ,London and putting the centres there when other options outside these conurbations (so long as there were transport links) would have been more suitable and cheaper . The whole idea has so far been a farce from the beginning with those at the top not knowing or wanting to know that their ideas and costings were flawed. A much smaller reduction in offices is clearly called for eg with a larger number of say county centres being established with about 1000 staff rather than the 5000 proposed for the smaller number of larger regional sites

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