Tees Valley Combined Authority

Tees Valley Combined Authority: Creating the Vision for Relocation


DragonGate have a long-term relationship with Tees Valley Combined Authority and were commissioned in 2019 to develop an initial vision for public sector relocation to the area. This vision played an important role in identifying the opportunities for public sector relocation and ultimately in the establishment of HM Treasury’s new Northern Campus in Darlington, while DGMI market intelligence underpinned a compelling case for government investment in the region.


This case hinged primarily on unfairness. In the years since the 2010 Coalition Government implemented its programme of austerity, the Civil Service has shrunk by 13.5%. However, this has not been evenly distributed across the country; the London-based Civil Service is actually 5.8% larger than it was in 2010, while in the North East it is now 18.7% smaller. Likewise, the Civil Service in regional capitals like Newcastle, Manchester, and Leeds grew over this period, usually at the expense of less prosperous towns and cities as departments like HM Revenue and Customs consolidated their operations into new city-centre hubs.

Tees Valley was similarly threatened with the loss of several hundred HMRC jobs due to be relocated to Newcastle’s enormous Benton Park View campus. This would lead to a massive dent in sustainable, white-collar employment in the area, as our slides demonstrated:

Furthermore it would mean the near-total evacuation of ‘National’ Civil Servants – those whose jobs do not necessitate their location in a particular place – from the region, leaving only the Job Centres, courts, and other local services found in all regions of the UK:

Faced with this prospect, DGMI was able to draw together local stakeholders, map out the regions industry strengths and juxtapose this with areas of growing demand from Government, new government organisations, and realistic targets for relocation. The end product was a compelling vision for Levelling Up Tees Valley articulating how Government could not only shore up a regional economy but improve the quality of decision-making by co-locating regulators with their respective industries, as well as attract new and diverse talent better representative of the country as a whole.


The following outputs were delivered in a short timescale:

  • Literature review of relevant national and local policy and operational plans, including Local Industrial Strategy, Infrastructure Plans (e.g. Durham Tees Valley Airport), and local Economic Development Strategies
  • Updated demand analysis of government departments and arm’s-length bodies including data and qualitative intelligence
  • Shortlisting and departmental profiling including key data and personnel
  • Local assessment to demonstrate the regions ability to deliver on skills, accommodation, and other critical requirements
  • Final position paper articulating the case for relocation and communications plan

“DragonGate have worked with the Combined Authority for a number of years. Their expertise played an important role in identifying the opportunity to level up Tees Valley via civil service relocation.

Plans for the establishment of Treasury North in Darlington represent a step change in ambition and we are grateful for their market insight and expertise which helped make this happen.”

Tees Valley Combined Authority