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Relocation, relocation, relocation: Assessing the case for public sector dispersal

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Neill Marshall, David Bradley, Dr Catherine Hodgson, Dr Neil Alderman, Ranald Richardson


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The paper assesses the case for public sector relocation from capital cities using evidence from Britain. The senior echelons of the British civil service are disproportionately concentrated in London. Significant reductions in operating costs can be achieved by relocating civil service functions from the capital, and these financial savings have been used to justify, programmes of dispersal. However, the paper stresses the strong regional case for relocation; relocation contributes directly through employment creation to more balanced regional economic development and simultaneously reduces overheating close to the capital and the under-utilization of infrastructure and human resources in other regions. The relocation of more senior jobs in the civil service from London strengthens the service base within problem regions. The highly centralized and strongly hierarchical nature of the civil service, combined with the buoyancy of the private sector near the capital, acts as a brake on staff mobility and the effective national deployment of staff in the civil service. Public service relocation is increasingly being used by government to facilitate modernization by using relocation as a catalyst to bring in new business practices. However, there is less of a willingness oil the part of government to connect relocation with flatter forms of more devolved governance.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Marshall JN, Bradley DP, Hodgson CM, Alderman NF, Richardson RGW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Regional Studies

Year: 2005

Volume: 39

Issue: 6

Pages: 767-787

ISSN (print): 0034-3404

ISSN (electronic): 1360-0591


DOI: 10.1080/00343400500213663


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