Two pillars of the UK civil service’s Scottish operations have confirmed they will move into an Edinburgh hub building set to open in 2020.
The Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Office of the Advocate General will relocate from their current Melville Crescent and Victoria Quay bases in the city and take up space at the New Waverley building, which will house 2,900 staff.
Unveiled by hubs-project driver HM Revenue & Customs in July last year, the New Waverley base in the city centre has been taken on a 20-year lease agreed by the Government Property Unit.
As well as HMRC staff and the offices of the secretary of state and the advocate general, New Waverley will also house staff working for the Office for Statistics Regulation, the Information Commissioner’s Office and the Government Actuary’s Department.
Scottish secretary David Mundell said the creation of the Edinburgh hub was part of the UK government’s commitment to “building a strong civil service” outside London and evidence that it was “delivering” for Scotland
“It is right that we have the right facilities to enable staff from across the whole of the UK government to work together to deliver high quality services,” he said.
“The UK government hub demonstrates our commitment to supporting the Edinburgh economy – which we are also driving through the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.”
According to its most recent annual report, the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland had around 40 staff based at Melville Crescent in Edinburgh, and a smaller headcount at Dover House in London.
The Office of the Advocate General had around 40 staff at its Victoria Quay base in Edinburgh and just a handful based at Dover House in London.
Neither directly employs staff; workers are seconded or loaned from other parts of the civil service – primarily the Scottish Government and the Ministry of Justice.
HM Treasury currently has space at Melville Crescent reserved for its use, and is also listed as a future occupant of New Waverley.
When HMRC first announced the 190,000 sq ft building had been secured as the government’s Edinburgh hub, chief executive Jon Thompson said the building would allow the tax-collection agency to bring its teams together at a single site, promoting closer working relationships and increasing its effectiveness in the process.