Kate Scott-Hughes is standing to be the next CSRA Chair. In this blog post, she sets out what her priorities would be as Chair.

In my last message to you I talked about my vision to focus on improving the working experiences of LGBT civil servants who are more isolated and, in particular, bisexual civil servants. In order to do this my top three priorities as Chair will be:

  • Engagement with the regions: 81% of civil servants live and work outside London – we need to hear their voices more, and we need to support them better.
  • Supporting bisexual civil servants: the Civil Service People Survey tells us that bisexual staff are the most disengaged of the LGB demographic. As we showed when we produced our Blueprint for improving the experiences of LGB civil servants, it has been the situation for a long time. We need to find out why they’re more disengaged, and level the playing field.
  • Engagement with the centre: we need to influence policy makers and that can only be done by engaging with strategic teams working on policy to improve our culture in the Civil Service, and outcomes in broader society. There is a lot that can be done to make life better for LGBT civil servants and the public, particularly relating to intersectionality and seeing the whole person.

Engagement with the regions

I will make it a priority to understand the experiences of those working outside London. I will use that evidence to support Sue Owen, the Civil Service LGBT Champion, and the Cabinet Office Civil Service Diversity & Inclusion Team understand what LGBT civil servants on the frontline and away from Whitehall really need.

This feeds into Sue’s priority to engage across the Civil Service and will help her clarify those needs with departmental champions and in her annual visits to executive groups. As part of doing this I will refresh our support for departmental networks to identify how we can work together more effectively.

Supporting bisexual civil servants

I will continue to support the research being done by our bisexuality lead, Mary Peart, into the experience of bisexual employees within the Civil Service and work with her to identify and implement the next steps at the outcome of that research.

Alongside this, I will ensure CSRA works with Cabinet Office to develop a plan to tackle bullying and harassment of LGBT people, but with a particular focus on bisexual and ‘other’ employees. I will also work across the Civil Service to raise the profile of bisexual civil servants, by committing to continue the role modelling activities such asCivil Service LGBT Impact Index which I helped to launch earlier this year.

Engagement with the centre

I will actively engage with the Permanent Secretary Diversity Champions, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) and the Civil Service Diversity & Inclusion Team.

I will continue to work with with senior champions at Permanent Secretary level, such as Sue Owen (LGBT and Diversity Champion), Philip Rutnam (Disability Champion) and Richard Heaton (Race Champion), to ensure we deliver for LGBT people, and make sure intersectionality is considered in our work. I will continue to work with GEO to support broader government policy development, and the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion team to develop LGBT inclusive Civil Service policy. The relationships I will build up again with the departmental networks will make this a two-way engagement.

I have the experience to deliver

To make all of this happen alongside the day-to-day running of CSRA I will draw upon my extensive experience as CPS LGBT Chair and CSRA Vice-Chair, building upon the trust and relationships that I already have in order to make CSRA members’ voices heard at all levels of the civil service.

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