DCMS unpacks plans to move jobs north

City-centre hub in Manchester will host 400 staff and 200 more will work out of Treasury’s Darlington campus
Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. Photo: Chris Skoyles/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

By Jim Dunton

15 Feb 2022

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has set out further details of its plans to create hundreds of jobs in the regions and move significant parts of its operation out of London.

It has named Marble Street in Manchester city centre, a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Gardens, as the location for its new hub, which will be the base for up to 400 staff.

Details first emerged of DCMS’s plans to open up a base in Manchester last year against the backdrop of the government’s Places for Growth plans to move 22,000 civil service roles out of the capital by the end of the decade.

But yesterday’s announcement put flesh on the bone of the department’s plans to move around 700 jobs to the regions – or create new roles outside of London.

DCMS said its Manchester HQ will contain the head office for Building Digital UK, which is driving the government’s £5bn Project Gigabit to roll out faster broadband to more parts of the UK.

DCMS said its plans will ensure decisions being made about the arts, culture, sport, media and heritage better reflect the communities they impact.

It said they will allow greater proximity to the department’s arm's-length bodies and partners in the media, cyber and digital sectors.

Last year, the Competition and Markets Authority also said it was planning to base its fledgling Digital Markets Unit in Manchester and expected to have around 200 staff in the city by 2025.

As well as confirming Marble Street as the location for its Manchester HQ, DCMS put a number on the staff it expects to be based at Darlington for the first time. It said “almost 200” of its officials will have the Treasury’s economic campus as their main workplace, rubbing shoulders with colleagues from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Education and the Treasury.

DCMS also reiterated its plans to expand its presence in Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh and Loughborough.

It said sporting bodies including UK Anti-Doping and Sport England will move to Loughborough University SportPark, while the core department will also move “some of its Whitehall roles” to the East Midlands sports facility.

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries said the days of London-centric decision making belong in the past.

“It’s an exciting time for DCMS as we expand our regional offices and tap into a more diverse talent pool,” she said.

“Our strength comes from our people and this will allow us to recruit the best, wherever they may be, to deliver the wide range of DCMS policies which drive growth and enrich lives all over the UK.”

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