For the second year, CSRA has hosted its annual conference for LGB* civil servants.

On 27th March, we hosted our second cross-Civil Service conference for LGB* staff at the BIS Conference Centre in London. 100 staff from across the Civil Service, across a wide variety of Government Departments and their agencies, were there to talk about the issues and opportunities facing staff with minority sexual orientations working in the public sector.

We were lucky enough to be joined by some fantastic advocates for LGB* people as our keynote speakers, including:

  • Ben Summerskill, former Chief Executive of Stonewall
  • Amy Lamé, Comedian, Presenter and Activist
  • Sue Owen, Permanent Secretary of DCMS and LGBT Diversity Champion for the Civil Service
  • Richard Heaton, Permanent Secretary of Cabinet Office, First Parliamentary Counsel and Race Champion for the Civil Service
  • Sir Stephen Wall, former European Union advisor to the Prime Minister and UK permanent representative to the EU

We were especially pleased that Ben Summerskill could join us at the event, as his report into LGB* and T diversity in the Civil Service – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – was published last week. The report highlighted that although the Civil Service has made good progress on diversity in the last twenty years it is now being overtaken by other employers. Some staff feel they are now being overlooked because they are LGB* or T. Others report that they encounter direct discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Aside from our keynote speakers, LGB* civil servants and allies facilitated a series of workshop sessions, where attendees could share their experiences, ideas and best practice.

We were really pleased that the feedback from the conference was so positive:

“It was a really brilliant event and there was a great atmosphere.”
“The conference itself was thought provoking and provided me with a lot
of material to bring back to my Department and work on with my team and network.”

None of this would have been possible without the support of CSRA volunteers; all of whom are civil servants, supporting us in their spare time.

When we were organising the conference, it was important to us that cost wasn’t a barrier to attendance, but as an organisation with no direct funding, that’s a big challenge. So our thanks go to the Crown a Prosecution Service LGBT Network and the Environment Agency LGBT Network, who kindly sponsored some of the places at the event, meaning we could make this a free event for all.

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