As part of LGBT History Month, we’re highlighting the stories of LGB* civil servants. Kate Scott-Hughes works for the Crown Prosecution Service. She tells us about her experiences in the CPS and meeting her wife in her local network!
I joined the CPS in 2001, starting as an Admin Assistant in St Albans, working with the HR and facilities teams.
I became an Admin Officer fairly quickly and within a year of starting I had progressed to working in CPS London, managing grievance cases and working on the CPS response to Employment Tribunals.
As soon as the notice came around about an LGBT network being set up I knew I wanted to be involved.
I was only ‘out’ to one person in the office and he encouraged me to go along, saying as we finished the conversation “you should keep an eye out for Claire Scott – I think you two will get on well.”
It turns out I should have asked him for the winning lottery numbers as well because within a year I had moved to York to be with Claire, with the full support of the CPS, who managed to find me a job.
This meant that I could stay working in an organisation I knew and trusted, something which was very important to me as a member of the LGBT community; starting fresh can be so difficult with ‘coming out’ to a whole new organisation – that’s quite a daunting prospect.
Since moving to York I’ve been involved in so many different aspects of the CPS and the Civil Service.
I’ve worked on victim and witness issues, hate crime, policy development, contract management and I’m currently managing the service our disabled staff receive in relation to their IT service.
Alongside that I have carried out various roles on the LGBT network committee, currently I lead the network as chair and also fulfil the role of vice-chair for the Civil Service Rainbow Alliance (CSRA).
Doing this work gives me a whole different perspective to the Civil Service. I get to work with colleagues at all levels, from a variety of departments and disciplines, and get involved in projects that can make a difference to the estimated 20,000 people who are LGBT in the Civil Service and the services they deliver to the taxpayer.
I think the project that I’m most proud of is the CSRA Role Models Guide. It’s so important to have role models within an organisation. For LGBT people – who can easily feel isolated in the workplace – being able to see people like them at all levels of the organisation can be really empowering.
I’ve also been able to play a significant role in the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” report and the resulting action plan commissioned by the Cabinet Office.
Work on both these projects contributed to being recognised with the “Championing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender People Award” and day out at Buckingham Palace for the Civil Service Awards ceremony last year alongside CSRA’s chair, Ollie Entwistle.
Knowing that I can make my voice heard and that, by doing that, represent the views of lots of other LGB* civil servants makes me feel confident that the CPS and the Civil Service are a great place to work.
Looking back, I was really fortunate to start with the CPS when I did. Diversity issues were just beginning to be recognised and addressed, and for someone just starting out in a Civil Service career, who is passionate about equality of opportunity and fairness, it was the right moment to join the organisation, full of fresh perspective and enthusiasm.