On Friday 26th October the winners of the Civil Service Diversity and Equality Awards were announced at a ceremony held at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at their Nobel House office. The awards were presented by the Head of the Civil Service Sir Bob Kerslake, the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood and Civil Service Diversity Champion Sir Paul Jenkins.
Sir Bob Kerslake, Head of the Civil Service said:
Fostering a diverse Civil Service that is representative of our customers and values difference is one of my key priorities as Head of the Civil Service.
A diverse workforce will help us deliver the Civil Service Reform Plan which identifies that whilst the Civil Service has many talented people there are gaps in capability and skills.
We must address this and we can do this by accessing the richest possible mix of talent and ensuring that development opportunities are available to all staff.
The Awards are a great moment to celebrate what has been achieved by our hardworking staff but they are also an opportunity to reinvigorate our endeavour to become a more inclusive and representative organisation.
Sir Paul Jenkins, Diversity Champion and HM Procurator-General and Treasury Solicitor said:
Delivering on the diversity agenda is a key part of the wider Civil Service reform programme. I am proud to be part of a Civil Service that delivers services to an increasingly diverse range of people and, in these challenging times, continues to strive for as diverse a workforce as possible.
As Civil Service Diversity Champion I am proud of the progress we have made and passionate about continuing to drive this agenda forward. The business case for doing so remains as clear as ever – I truly believe that having a diverse Civil Service leads to better service delivery, a talented and engaged workforce and a strong reputation across both the public and private sectors.
Through taking inspiration from these stories we can continue to work together to achieve success and demonstrate the commitment of government to improving diversity and equality for our workforce and society.
I encourage you all to recognise the achievements of our people who have made a real difference.
The Diversity & Equality Awards are aligned with the Civil Service Awards. As such, winners of the individual categories from these Diversity & Equality Awards will form the shortlist for the Diversity & Equality category announced at the Civil Service Awards Ceremony.
The Crown Prosecution Service Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Coordinators is a virtual team comprising of fourteen VAWG coordinators, one in each of the thirteen regions in England and Wales and one within the daytime charging team.
These coordinators are responsible for implementing VAWG prosecution policy in the Areas, providing strategic direction for community engagement and managing performance. During the restructure of the Service under SR10 the VAWG coordinator role was aggregated, from 42 to 13, meaning that coordinators needed to take on further responsibility and operate at a strategic level within the Area. Coordinators took this as an opportunity to deliver improved performance (detailed below), greater sharing of good practice and oversight of prosecutions.
As with all virtual teams this required commitment from the coordinators, and dedication to flexible resourcing and effective use of technology. As you will see in the next section the coordinators have improved performance through reducing attrition in prosecutions, delivered a better service to victims and witnesses, involved communities in the analysis and improvement of performance and delivered value for money for the service by improving the efficiency of our prosecutions.
The nomination was about the leadership role of Carers Branch (over the last four years and continuing) in ensuring that equalities and diversity are fully integrated into the work of identifying and supporting unpaid carers and young carers across Scotland. This is in relation to policy development and evidence-based evaluation which then translates into practice and implementation.
The National Carers and Young Carers Strategy for Scotland, Caring Together and Getting it Right for Young Carers (2010-2015), fully promotes equalities and diversity. Each part of the Strategy contains stand-alone chapters on equalities and cultural competence, thus establishing at the outset the importance of ensuring that carers and young carers within equality groups are identified and supported.
The nomination further demonstrates how Carers Branch is building on the equalities framework they set out in the Strategy through further policy developments being implemented locally. We also acknowledge that whilst Carers Branch, with partners, has achieved much in this area, especially with regard to older and BME carers (and older BME carers) and the parent-carers of disabled children and disabled children themselves, there is more to do. One of our next steps will be to move forward on carers who are themselves disabled.
The Department for Transport’s (DfT) Community Rail Development Strategy is aimed at giving new life to our rural railways and seeks to make it easier for the rail industry and local communities to do more to ensure the long term health of their services.
Some of the Strategy’s key aims include increasing ridership, social and economic regeneration and greater involvement of the local community. The Ambassador project is an innovative travel awareness solution which meets these key aims and could potentially be used nationally.
Northern Rail in partnership with DfT, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and the East Lancashire Community Rail Partnership developed a scheme working with and supporting socially excluded and BME communities at four different locations. Though the railway is at the doorstep of many of these communities it is under utilised by many of them. To engage with these communities and better understand and then overcome barriers to local rail travel, Northern Rail recruited “ambassadors” from the actual communities.
Through this engagement process it was hoped to change attitudes to local rail travel which would attract new customers to rail thus making it more financially sustainable whilst helping to improve the quality of life of these communities.
Levente is a locally-employed member of the British Embassy in Budapest. He leads on the Embassy’s human rights and diversity work and his dedication and commitment to this work, combined with an excellent awareness of the issues, a constant flow of ideas, and endless energy, have made the British Embassy the leading Embassy in this area in Hungary.
This nomination covers his work with – and on behalf of – the LGBT, Jewish and Roma minorities in Hungary. He has single-handedly raised the profile of minority issues in the Hungarian media, while also generating positive media coverage for the Embassy. All of this is achieved with minimum cost and acute awareness of the local context and the sensitivity surrounding the issues.
Mental ill health affects 1 in 4 people in the UK. In the Welsh Government, over 33% of staff absenteeism is due to mental health conditions. Mind Matters is the peer-led group for good Mental Health within Welsh Government, providing staff with the opportunity to meet other people who understand and share similar experiences.
This is the first time in Wales that a peer support group has been set up in the work place to support Mental Health. Mind Matters was established in October 2009. The group now support more than 100 plus staff, operating in 4 different office locations, has organised 50 plus events and is still going strong.
Laura is blind and uses Job Access With Speech (JAWs) technology. She was allocated work that had been nationally scripted for JAWs users so, although part of an operational team, she was doing different work from her colleagues. Laura highlighted her desire to be fully inclusive in the organisation and suggested that a wider range of work would be possible via JAWs.
Through working in partnership with our management and learning teams, Laura demonstrated flexibility around the JAWs system, showing opportunities for a wider range of work and better opportunities to fully utilise the skills of our visually impaired colleagues. Laura then undertook a full review of work options; testing possibilities and recommending the way forward. She shared her extensive knowledge of JAWs to other JAWs users, their mentors and managers and has even helped colleagues in a separate business area.
Our JAWs users are now an integral part of our operational teams, thanks in no small part, to Laura’s drive, energy and drive for equality of opportunities. The startling progress made in our location has been shared across HMRC overall and has helped to challenge the Department’s overall approach to how we allocate work to colleagues with visual impairment.