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

J. N. Marshall, D. Bradley, C. Hodgson, N. Alderman and R. Richardson

Regional Studies, 2005, vol. 39, issue 6, 767-787

Abstract: Marshall J. N., Bradley D., Hodgson C., Alderman N. and Richardson R. (2005) Relocation, relocation, relocation: assessing the case for public sector dispersal, Regional Studies 39 , 767-787. 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 on the part of government to connect relocation with flatter forms of more devolved governance.

Keywords: Public sector relocation; Reduced operating costs; Balanced regional development; Government modernization; Relocalisation du secteur public; Frais d'exploitation reduits; Developpement regional equilibre; Modernisation de l'administration; Standortwechsel der offentlichen Dienste; verringerte Betriebskosten; ausgewogene Regionalentwicklung; Modernisierung der Regionen; Transferencia de la administracion publica; Reduccion de los costes operativos; Desarrollo regional equitativo; Modernizacion del gobierno; JEL classifications: R11; R38; R53; R83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005
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DOI: 10.1080/00343400500213663

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