UK e-government to shift North

With so many government IT workers in the North West of England, it makes sense to move the Uk's e-Government unit up from London

Officials working on UK e-government policy are being relocated to Birchwood in the northwest of England to be closer to public sector IT workers.

The government said the relocation of the e-Government Unit (eGU) will establish a shared service centre with closer and improved interaction with the IT staffers. Government CIO Ian Watmore is not one of the officials moving but a Cabinet Office spokeswoman said that he will use the offices.

Part of the business plans is to move more people over time, a Cabinet Office spokeswoman told ZDNet UK sister site

More central government IT workers are based in the northwest of England than any other part of the UK and the 30 eGU staff relocated will be next to the Department for Work and Pensions, the biggest IT purchaser and operator in government.

The move is part of the response to the Lyons Review which aims to relocate 20,000 civil service posts away from London and the southeast of England.

Cabinet Office e-government minister Jim Murphy said in a statement: "The northwest has the highest percentage of central government IT professionals in the UK and this move will encourage even closer and more effective working relationships with the IT profession right across the public sector."

The eGU teams initially affected include the e-Delivery Team, eGU's internal corporate services, the Government IT Profession and the Service Transformation Team. The relocation will begin in January 2006 and take place in phases over the course of 2006.

The move is planned to deliver long-term efficiency savings through reduced infrastructure costs and access to a broader skills base.