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Morier House 'will not be sold off', Gov says

Morier House 'will not be sold off', Gov says

Thursday 19 August 2021

Morier House 'will not be sold off', Gov says


The Government has confirmed that the previous CEO's plans to sell off the home of the Law Officers' Department and integrate them into the 'OneGov' HQ are no longer on the table.

A Government spokesperson confirmed yesterday that there are no plans to dispose of Halkett Place-based Morier House, which is adjacent to the Royal Court and States Chamber.

They also stated that all staff within the building - including the Law Officers' Department, Viscount's Department, and States Greffe - won't be expected to relocate to the new building on the site of Cyril Le Marquand House.

It comes after tensions between Morier House staff and former CEO Charlie Parker over a possible move to the Government's short-term Broad Street headquarters emerged earlier this month in a letter from Practice Director of the Law Officers' Department (LOD), Alec Le Sueur, to the Public Accounts Committee.

Mr Parker's idea was part of the 'OneGov' drive to get all public servants working from a single premises to improve efficiency in Government and save money by disposing of properties that were no longer needed. But the non-Ministerial Departments of Morier House, which have always remained independent from Government, did not feel the move would be appropriate.

Their concerns were ignored for 18 months, with the Law Officers' Department letter revealing that Attorney General, Mark Temple, was forced to write to the Chief Minister last year in a bid to halt Mr Parker's plan, which included potentially selling off Morier House. 

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Pictured: The former CEO, Charlie Parker, wanted to move the Law Officers' Department to Broad Street and potentially sell off Morier House.

The Practice Director's letter said he had first learned of Charlie Parker’s wishes during a meeting of the Office Accommodation Board in August 2019. At the time, Morier House had been due a refurbishment for several months.

In a Board meeting a few months later, Mr Le Sueur challenged Mr Parker’s plan to sell off Morier House, arguing that the Non-Ministerial Departments needed to remain separate from Government and that Morier House was the “ideal location."

The LOD Practice Director said those concerns were then "ignored" for a year-and-a-half, prompting the Attorney General's intervention.

No response was received to his letter to the Chief Minister, which copied in Mr Parker, and in January 2021, the departments learned they would have to move to Broad Street through the filing of a report to States Members.

The situation was only resolved recently after the LOD was “forced” to “appeal and express their concerns” to Scrutiny and PAC.

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Pictured: Staff from Morier House will not be moving to the new Government's HQ once it is build.

With the Government continuing to work on its strategy for managing its £1bn property portfolio, Express made several queries earlier this month about the longer-term fate of Morier House and its staff.

A Government spokesperson finally responded yesterday: “There are no plans for either the staff based in Morier House to move to the new Government building at Cyril Le Marquand House, or for the Government to sell Morier House."

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