The Cabinet Office has confirmed that the newly-created government office hub in Canary Wharf is set to be fully occupied when it officially opens this year.
A number of departments and agencies have agreed to move staff into the 10 South Colonnade building, which the government agreed to lease in 2016 as part of the hubs programme. These include HM Revenue & Customs, the Pensions Ombudsman and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
After the Competition and Markets Authority revealed plans to relocate its headquarters from Holborn in central London to the Cabot building near the hub in Canary Wharf, the Government Property Agency, which is based in the Cabinet Office, confirmed it had consulted with the CMA over options for its move. The decision to enter into the new 15-year lease, which will also provide the watchdog with space to expand following the UK’s exit from the European Union, came as the 10 South Colonnade hub was 100% occupied, so that location was not available, a spokesman told Civil Service World.
Filling the 11-floor east London office hub, where work to prepare the building for its new government tenants is nearly complete, represents a landmark for plans to move civil servants out of Whitehall. It comes after the publication in July of an updated Government Estates Strategy that pledged to relocate “thousands” of public servants to boost growth.
These plans include an expansion of the hubs programme which, to date, has been driven by HMRC with the successful delivery of the Canary Wharf hub forming part of its transformation plans to relocate staff from a position of 170 offices in 2015 into 13 central hubs.
According to the updated strategy, “around 20” hubs will be created, and these will be supported by a network of local mini hubs around the country, with an overall aim to reduce the office buildings in which central government operates from 800 to around 200. This is expected to save an estimated £2.5bn in running costs over 20 years, as well as help increase flexible working.