Abolition of Government Offices ‘crass’

Abolition of Government Offices ‘crass’

Prospect has expressed its dismay at the announcement by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and local Government, to abolish the 8 remaining Government Offices in the English regions. The decision to abolish the Government Office for London has already been announced. In total, 1,700 staff are affected.

Prospect represents planners, scientists, technical and communication staff in the Government Offices Network.

Negotiator Julie Flanagan said: “This decision is crass. It cuts against the grain of what the Coalition Government professes it wants to achieve with its ‘Big Society'. The role of the GO network has been to support localism and make Whitehall less remote to the citizens of the English regions and to act as a conduit and facilitator for government policy.”

Tyler Wakeford, chair of the Prospect GO section said: “Abolishing them will only centralise power even more in Whitehall and represents a missed opportunity for the government to deliver its policy. Contrary to what the minister says, the network is well respected and achieved high user satisfaction in a recent survey.”

“Local people have been told that they will now have to deal with a multitude of remote government departments based in London via the internet.”

Although some functions of the network, like resilience and civil contingencies, will be retained, staff deemed surplus to requirements will be transferred back to their sponsor departments and face redeployment or redundancy.

Offices affected are in Bristol, Plymouth, Guildford, Birmingham, Cambridge, Nottingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.