Kate Scott-Hughes, CSRA Vice-Chair, writes about her meeting with all Civil Service heads of diversity to talk about the Civil Service diversity strategy.

On a hot day at the end of July, Niall and I, along with representatives from all the other civil service wide diversity networks, met with Sir Simon Fraser, Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Diversity Champion for the Civil Service. We had an informative and constructive discussion about the new diversity strategy, a lot of which we can’t tell you about yet because it’s not an agreed document but both of us came away from the meeting feeling that it had been a really productive meeting from our perspective.

For the first time there is a real consideration of LGB* people in the strategy. The document looks at the business case for a diverse workforce, the advantages of reflecting the community and understanding customer needs from first person experience. It also supports the Civil Service Reform programme by looking at developing diverse talent and capability across the piece, putting in place Permanent Secretaries with responsibility for specific characteristics to support Sir Simon in implementing the strategy but building in work that looks at outcomes across characteristics and isn’t restricted to specific strands.

One comment made by Sir Simon particularly encouraged us around how much we were being listened to around the disconnect between London and the regions in relation to Sexual Orientation and the different experiences LGB* civil servants in smaller regional offices have to those in large London offices, he clearly appreciates that there are barriers for staff and wants to work to remove those.

We will be meeting with him again once Francis Maude has agreed the draft to feedback on the specifics and discuss sings like targets (how and what we measure) and the potential for a report into issues facing LGBT staff in the civil service. So if there is anything you would like us to feed in to that discussion then please let us know what it is, tell us your barriers and we will work to break them down.

The Civil Service diversity champions are:

Diversity – Sir Simon Fraser (FCO)
Gender – Sharon White (HM Treasury)
Race – Richard Heaton (Cabinet Office)
Disability – Lin Homer (HMRC)
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity – Sue Owen (DCMS)

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