HC Deb 06 December 1989 vol 163 cc213-4W
Mr. Cousins

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will list all office relocations of his Department's staff since May 1979, stating in each case the location of origin and the location to transfer, together with the numbers of staff transferred;

(2) what relocations of his Department's staff, or agencies relating thereto, are curently being considered; and what are the numbers of staff affected.

Mr. Chris Patten

Approximately 60 posts in the Crown Suppliers were moved from central London to Bootle in 1982. The Department's Eastern Regional Office, comprising some 70 posts, was moved from London to Bedford in 1988. This year, the newly established Historic Royal Palaces Agency, with 20 posts, was transferred from central London to Hampton Court palace. The Department's rent charges unit, with 11 posts, has recently been moved from central London to the Department's north-west regional office in Manchester.

In April this year, the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, for which the Department is responsible, moved its office dealing with properties in care in the northern region, with 20 posts, from central London to Newcastle upon Tyne.

Around 38 per cent. of the Department's staff of approximately 6,000 (excluding the Property Services Agency) are already located outside London, 24 per cent. outside the south-east. All other posts have been assessed for relocation potential, and some 1,350 posts have been identified for detailed investigation. Studies covering 320 posts are complete, leading to proposals to move some 90

Mr. Chope

The information is as follows:

posts out of London. These proposals—which include the relocation of the Historic Royal Palaces Agency and rent charges unit—are now being implemented. Studies covering the other posts will be carried out over the next two years or so, as operational requirements allow.

Seventy per cent. of the PSA's staff of 22,400 (including the Crown Suppliers) are already located outside London, 45 per cent. outside the south-east. The agency is being restructured in preparation for commercialisation. The scope for further relocation is being examined through the business planning process.

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