The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will create a second headquarters in Wolverhampton, it has been announced, becoming the first department to significantly move its operations outside of London as part of a wider government initiative to spread civil servant roles across the country.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick revealed today that his department would be looking to create a new headquarters in the West Midlands city, with at least 500 MHCLG roles to be based in the region by 2025.
The office will include a consistent presence of ministers when it sets up, making it the first such ministerial office outside of London with a regular ministerial presence. Senior civil servants will also be based in Wolverhampton, with the aim of ensuring the new office becomes a key place for policy development and decision-making.
The 500 staff will nearly double the number of staff from the 300 MHCLG roles in the region already. The long-term aim is to ensure that at least 800 roles, including 50% of the most senior positions, are based outside of London by 2030.
The latest announcement comes off the back of the MHCLG relocating 40 roles from London to the Midlands in the past 12 months. It will also be working with other government departments to develop better career opportunities outside of London to improve civil servant retainment.
The department has said that will unveil details of the building it has selected for the new HQ in the spring.
The news comes after Homes England, the government’s housing delivery agency, moved part of its operation to Coventry back in 2019.
Mr Jenrick said: “As communities secretary, I am determined to spread opportunity and prosperity to every part of our nation. That is why I am delighted to be taking the historic step of moving significant numbers of senior roles out of Whitehall and creating the first-ever ministerial office outside of Westminster in Wolverhampton – increasing the jobs in the Midlands to over 500.
“With a dual headquarters in Wolverhampton my department will not only change where we work but how we work, signalling the end of the ‘Whitehall knows best’ approach. All of us at the department are looking forward to having the opportunity to work there.
“This government knows that by having more local voices at the heart of our policy development and delivery, we will support our communities more effectively, and we will continue to develop greater career options in government outside of London.
“In choosing the city of Wolverhampton we are also backing our great smaller cities, some of which have been neglected for too long. We want to raise their stature, encourage civic pride and commercial success.”