DSIT to set up second HQ in Salford

Department – one of three to announce a new major site outside London – indicates Greater Manchester will be one of a range of UK cities where it will grow its presence

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology is to create a second headquarters in Salford.

The department said that the decision to set up shop in Greater Manchester will place the department “at the heart of a community that has played a pivotal role in shaping scientific and technological advancements in the UK”.

“Greater Manchester is steeped in a legacy of technological progress, rooted in the Industrial Revolution and long home to scientific pioneers like Alan Turing and Ernest Rutherford,” secretary of state Michelle Donelan said. By establishing our second headquarters here, we not only tap into a pool of exceptional talent but also ensure that policymakers responsible for the growth of science and technology live and work alongside a dynamic community of sci-tech leaders.”

The department – and its broadband rollout-focused executive agency Building Digital UK – already have a cumulative total of about 200 staff in the region. This figure is expect to double following the opening of the Salfordian HQ.

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DSIT has singled out Greater Manchester as one of a number of towns and cities that will be “active growth locations” for the department’s operations in the coming months years. Also on the growth list are Birmingham, Cardiff, Darlington, Edinburgh and, from winter 2024 onwards, Bristol.

The science and tech agency is one of three Whitehall departments that this week announced the creation of second HQs outside London.

The Department of Business and Trade will join the Treasury in setting up a second base in Darlington, while the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero has said it will have HQs in both Aberdeen and Salford. The department already has a presence in Salford, with one of its director generals confirming he had moved there earlier this year.

Announcing the plans, Cabinet Office minister John Glen said the choice of locations was intended to departments “real proximity to the object of their focus”, such as placing DESNZ at the heart of the UK oil and gas industry in Aberdeen.

“We are taking the long-term decisions to move government roles out of London so more people from our great towns and cities can play a direct role in changing this country for the better,” he added. “We have already gone above and beyond our targets, bringing the best talent from every corner of the UK into government roles, to make our civil service more efficient and representative of the wider public.”

Tevye Markson and PublicTechnology staff

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