As part of LGBT History Month, we’re highlighting the stories of LGB* civil servants and Civil Service diversity networks. Gavin Thomas works for Ofsted. He writes about about why setting up an Ambassadors network was important to him at Ofsted.
I work at Ofsted. We inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. I focus on social care for my job. I also help to run our department’s LGBT network.
Last December, we launched the ‘Ambassadors’ programme. The ‘Ambassadors’ programme is an outreach support scheme for LGBT staff who work for Ofsted.
Ambassadors are named individuals across the organisation that provide an informal and friendly support service for all LGBT staff. They help to make Ofsted a safe and positive work environment for all our staff who identify with as part of a sexual orientation or gender identity minority.
Ofsted’s workforce is very diverse and geographically spread-out – a lot of our staff spend most of their time doing visits to schools or care providers. We’ve had to think carefully about how we make the scheme work for everyone – whether they are office-based, home-based or field-based.
Setting up this scheme was really important to me and others in Ofsted. We wanted to ensure that colleagues who identify as LGBT were supported and encouraged to be themselves. I’ve found support networks like this really useful to me in the past, so it’s really exciting to see us successfully introducing it at Ofsted.
We want our Ambassadors scheme to help reduce isolation and increase awareness of LGBT staff and issues in Ofsted. It also helps us to raise awareness of other networks and support services in the Civil Service, like CSRA and a:gender.
We hope that by making LGBT people more visible and supporting them in this way that more people will feel comfortable being out at Ofsted and can bring their whole-selves to work.