26 July 2017
Nick Pride is running for election as CSRA Chair. This post introduces him and helps you to get to know him.
I have been a civil servant for nearly all of my working life (since I was 16!), mostly in the MOD, but with a spell in the Cabinet Office and now at Government Legal Department. I joined as an Admin Assistant and then got my Admin Officer before a brief change of career as a chef. I returned to the MOD and was fortunate to get work in the Lab at the Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot. I was promoted to EO and posted to Deepcut as a Budget Manager. Throughout this period, I was predominantly in the closet at work with the door firmly shut – I was Mister Nick at the Officers Mess and expected to field a female companion at all events. Luckily with my connections at the hospital, I was always able to find a female Nursing Officer willing to play my girlfriend. It was a happy time despite the closeted behaviour.
I moved to London 22 years ago and both my career and life started for real. From the moment I started in Whitehall, I was determined to be open about my sexuality despite the MOD’s view of employing homosexuals.
I’m not sure why I wasn’t bothered – it might have been the foolishness of youth or my sincere belief that my sexual preferences didn’t impact on my ability to do my job – but for whatever reason, I decided it wasn’t a problem and just got on with my work! Thankfully I was proved right and steadily I’ve been promoted.
Now a Deputy Director (something I thought my parents might be more impressed with), I head-up a mixed civil service and contractor team of 70+ service delivery professionals supporting all aspects of GLD life. We provide the technology, postal, porterage, catering, security, safety and business resilience services to about 2,200 staff based mainly in Central London, but also in the regions.
For two years I was chair of the MOD LGBT Network and I am proud of our achievements under my chairmanship – maybe things that as an individual you might not have been fully aware of, but things that had a big impact on the lives of LGBT staff across defence. Every piece of policy that might affect LGBT staff was scrutinised and when needed, challenged. We trained role models, empowered Allies and mentored staff. Under my leadership, for the first time ever, a rainbow flag flew over MOD Main Building and the Red Arrows did a flypast at London Pride.
I am now chair of the network at GLD and we are starting from a scratch – we are doing the Stonewall WEI for the first time which is really exciting. The scale of the work is very different form MOD or even CSRA, but the challenges are the same and the rewards as great.
If successful and with your support, I want to do more to empower those in the civil service without a strong voice – our trans and bisexual colleagues; those with faith; those who feel isolated either due to their location or because of there personal situation and members of the BAME LGBT+ community who are still fearful of discrimination and outing and ensure LGTB staff are heard, represented and equality maintained and improved.