This commitment was underlined by the first ever gender equality Public Service Agreement (PSA) objective announced in 2003.
A subsequent PSA objective set targets to increase the number of women in the Senior Civil Service by April 2008, as it was recognised that women are under-represented at these levels.
The 2008 targets set in the previous PSA objective were:
- 37% of the Senior Civil Service to be women
- 30% of the top management posts to be filled by women
Final reporting of progress against these targets will be available in Autumn 2008.
In July 2008 new targets were set to increase the number of women in the Senior Civil Service over the next five years (with a stretch target of achieving within three years).
- 39% of the Senior Civil Service to be women
- 34% of the top management posts to be filled by women
The Cabinet Office is monitoring what departments are doing to achieve these objectives, as part of the strategy for the Civil Service called Promoting Equality, Valuing Diversity: A Strategy for the Civil Service.
Departmental actions on gender equality are set out in individual gender equality schemes, which are available on all departmental websites. You can access all departments’ schemes through DirectGov.
Many departments and agencies also assess their progress on gender equality actions by using a benchmarking tool that Opportunity Now offers its members. Opportunity Now is an organisation for employers who are committed to creating an inclusive workplace for women.
What you can do
- Encourage all staff to take their development seriously and give them the opportunity to do so.
- Keep an open mind when considering requests for alternative working arrangements and how they might work in the office – remember the legal rights of parents and carers.
- Do not tolerate any bullying or harassment in your teams – and make sure staff know about relevant departmental policies to tackle this.
- Keep in touch with staff when they are out of the office on maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave – or any other type of paid/unpaid leave.
Ability is key:
- Don’t make assumptions about a person’s commitment based on the hours they work.
- Don’t overlook a person for deputising duties or a temporary promotion on the grounds of working patterns, or domestic/caring responsibilities.
- For a performance appraisal, objectives should be jointly agreed between you and your member of staff.
- Staff reports should only be based on performance of competencies and the achievement of objectives.
What you can do
- Keep an eye out for training and development opportunities within and outside your current post – and ask to be considered for them.
- Stay in touch with what is going on within your team and organisation; networking is very useful.
- Take an interest in current departmental and Service-wide issues. It’s important to understand your organisation’s priorities to perform effectively within it.
- Ensure your objectives and development needs take account of departmental competence frameworks – so you can show how you meet the requirements of your current grade and could perform at a higher level.
Keep an open mind:
- Don’t give up on a career because you need to change your working patterns – show people how these alternative arrangements would benefit the organisation.
- Don’t assume management will not understand about any caring or domestic responsibilities you have.
- Expect and seek a full and reasoned explanation for refusal of anything, on the grounds of your working pattern or other responsibilities.
- Ensure you don’t treat people unequally on the grounds of their gender.
- Don’t make assumptions about a person’s commitment to the organisation based on the hours they work.
Promoting Equality, Valuing Diversity: A Strategy for the Civil Service
Read more about what we’re doing to build and develop a diverse Civil Service: