Civil Service to launch diversity and inclusion strategy

Employee Benefits Live 2017: The Civil Service is to launch a new strategy to improve diversity and inclusion (D&I) within its workforce, in order to see improvements in its business performance.

Addressing delegates at Employee Benefits Live 2017 in a session titled How to make progress and impact with diversity and inclusion in an evolving workplace, Jazz Bhogal, deputy director, Civil Service workforce strategy and inclusion at the Cabinet Office, explained that on Monday 16 October, the Civil Service will publish a new D&I strategy with two key areas of priority: a continued focus on increasing the representation of currently under-represented groups at all levels across the Civil Service; and a new focus on inclusion to build its culture and reputation as a place that attracts, develops, retains and fully engages the diverse talent across its organisation.

Bhogal said: “We are going to hold ourselves to account in ways that we hold public services to account […] We are going to be more transparent [and] we’re going to be more accountable, to the public but especially to the people who work for us and with us. We are going to be publishing data about ourselves to begin that nudge conversation about accountability.”

She added that in order for the organisation to better reflect the communities it serves across the UK, it needs to improve not only its workforce diversity statistics, but also the experience of its employees

The Civil Service has around 420,000 employees working in over 40 organisations in the UK. The nature of the Civil Service’s business is about improving outcomes for UK citizens, so the organisation needs to better understand what those outcomes are and be able to reflect the people that live in society, said Bhogal. “We have completely different varying roles and functions within the Civil Service,” she explained.

“This diversity of talent is really important. The diversity of who we are is about who we have in our workforce, how representative are we of the communities we serve; it’s absolutely vital that we are representative of the communities we serve. For us, inclusion is as valuable as our approach to diversity; you can’t have one without the other.”

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Employment statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Public sector employment statistics to March 2017, showed that 54% of the whole Civil Service workforce is female, but 11.6% are from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, and 9.9% are disabled. “We know this is not where we want to be, we’ve got huge amounts to do to make a difference,” said Bhogal. “It’s not just about who is in our organisations; it’s the experience of the people who work in our organisations.”

She added that understanding the value proposition an employer gets from having a diverse workforce can also help it better understand its customer base and market.