Faith and Belief Forum (FAB) - Hayley Rogers, Wasim Akhtar, Richard Emmens, Raspal Singh, Joel Wolchover
Cabinet Office Faith and Belief Forum (established in summer 2017) has set a benchmark for departmental interfaith networks. It has brought together a truly diverse mix of colleagues, including Muslims, Humanists, Pagans, Sikhs, Quakers, Jews and atheists. It has created a positive and safe space for colleagues to celebrate what they share (values such as tolerance and working together for the good of society) and be honest and open about where they differ (for example, in religious practices and core beliefs).
FAB Forum is based on a principle of respect for all, and seeks to promote inclusion in its widest sense by making it easier for people to be open about what they believe and what impact this has on their day-to-day life. This in turn gives staff confidence to challenge behaviour that may be inappropriate or simply thoughtless, and gives managers an improved understanding of what their teams may need in order to practise their faith or belief. Staff gain a greater insight into the communities they serve.
At its simplest, FAB Forum members have found that simply having the chance to talk to each other in an open and accepting way can be very effective in creating a more inclusive culture in our workplace. Gaining a deeper understanding about each other’s beliefs and religious practices can enable us to be more sensitive to the challenges faced by our colleagues.
FAB Forum has supplemented this opportunity for discussion with a structured range of activities, including “lunch and learn” seminars, high profile speaker events and visits to “faith and belief locations”.
FAB Forum’s activities have had a far-reaching impact on improving faith literacy and faith and belief inclusion. It has created a model that is capable of being rolled out across other departments.