Following the #MeToo movement and the safeguarding scandal of February 2018, our work is enabling DFID to ensure we hold ourselves to at least as high a standard as we expect from our partners, and to drive a conversation on sexual harassment across the Civil Service. We are focusing on long term change to build an inclusive working culture, using the momentum and evidence we have gathered to keep this issue firmly on the agenda of senior leaders and drive action to tackle the problem.
Based on the evidence we generated through our all-staff survey on sexual harassment, we have helped overhaul DFID systems and guidance, simplifying, reviewing and updating our procedures to address sexual harassment and relevant staff policies. Senior leaders have personally committed to act on the results of the survey and to ensure that this previously hidden issue is openly discussed and tackled. The Women’s Network and HR have developed a range of new advice, tools and guidance for staff and we are piloting bystander training for staff to empower people to act if they see colleagues treating others unacceptably. Security training for staff going to difficult environments overseas has been reviewed to improve how it addresses sexual harassment and violence, and we are working with staff and FCO to get our security support right.
At a personal level, the survey has raised awareness and empowered colleagues to share their experiences, with many reporting historical incidents and/or seeking support for the first time. Through 1:1 conversations, the focus groups, and discussion sessions run across the organisation, we have supported individuals and helped leaders to start to change team culture.
At a cross-HMG level, we have worked closely with FCO and DIT colleagues and with our support both departments have since run their own survey. We are now working with them on a joint response. Other government departments are actively exploring whether to follow suit.
The WTC network has landed very well, with wide reach and penetration into the organisation and active sponsorship from Sir Philip Rutnam (Civil Service Disability Champion).
- 35 employees are now trainers (with more in the pipeline) and >1,000 people have already benefited with excellent feedback, wider applicability in building confidence/capability for a range of sensitive issues, keeping more people in work (with organisational and financial benefits).
- ~30 buddy volunteers across the country (all affected by cancer) supporting colleagues. >100 people in a closed intranet group.
- Working closely with Break the Stigma and MHFA Network, supporting those suffering anxiety and depression.
- Raising awareness via wellbeing conferences, staff events, Twitter, blogs and articles.
- Seonaid co-presented with Macmillan at National Health@Work Conference, promoted via Twitter and newsletter to hundreds of organisations.
- Promoted World Cancer Day via blogs/videos from colleagues who found WTC “invaluable”.
- Hugely successful “Know Your Blood Type” event with pledges from ministers and Permanent Secretaries – 179 new blood donors signed up (best ever single day for the NHS blood team).
- An active cross-Government WTC group (chaired by Seonaid) now covers 15 departments and has 55 members.
- Senior leaders role modelling through powerful stories - Suzanne Gooch (HR director) told her story as a cancer carer to 250 SCS colleagues
- Mitigating non-compliance risks re Equality Act; reducing BHD concerns for cancer sufferers.
Macmillan’s programme lead Liz Egan: “We’re delighted to work with the Home Office and are very impressed by the commitment shown in progressing this initiative, which we're confident has been – and will continue to be – of considerable benefit across the organisation.”
Network member: “It’s rewarding to be able to give something back - and be part of this amazing and innovative support network”
Network users: “the buddy group is quite amazing.” “The support the network gave me/my team when a colleague received a terminal diagnosis was invaluable, thank you”. “I wouldn't have made it through that particular day without WTC and your call”.
SCS: “this fantastic work creates such an important capability for the Department. Most people have been affected by cancer. Seonaid’s talk very clearly resonated, moving emotionally (me included) many people in the room.”
Nuzhat is Senior Manager in the Health Improvement Directorate at Public Health England and adds significant tangible value to the DI agenda. Nuzhat is passionate and actively provides visible leadership for a range of innovative DI and organisational development activities across PHE and collaborating with OGD’s. Shegoes over and above in living leadership behaviours and role modelling the Civil service leadership code, making a real difference in championing inclusion through the work she does as a National Lead, member of the Diversity and Inclusion Network and Chair of the Muslim Network.
In the last 12 months Nuzhat has led a series of successful creative events in PHE and with other Faith Networks across the Civil service, raising the profile of Faith and Belief.
Inspired and co-delivered the first well attended/received interfaith webinar on the theme of ‘mental wellbeing’ and faith dialogue with the Christian Network and other faith and belief and no faith PHE colleagues.
Collaborated with other successful Muslim Networks to promote a greater level of understanding of the role faith and belief has to improve service user experience, tackling mental health and wellbeing, and cancer screening.
Led on increasing faith literacy using Lunch and Learn sessions during Ramadan and Hajj.
Recent 360 feed back from a wide range of people across the system is testament to the positive impact she has on others through her value driven behaviours.
"Nuzhat leads by example and clearly demonstrates PHE values in her interactions with people even under stressful situations."
“Leadership, she excels in the way she conducts her relationships with all staff, stakeholders and partners.”
“Nuzhat gives over and above energy/commitment”
Giving women a digital voice
DWP Digital is leading the way as pioneers of a Digital Voices (DVs) programme. A ground-breaking, agenda of activities to help women develop their digital skills and knowledge. The programme helps more women in DWP Digital:
•to be confident at presenting, taking a lead role at events/meetings, telling their own story and the story of DWP Digital
•to learn new skills that equip them to become more vocal
•to learn from other inspiring women and expands their support networks
•to challenge the gender imbalance at public-facing tech events
•to increase the number of visible women role models
DWP Digital launched DVs in 2018 as a pilot to address the above issues. Supported by Sue Griffin, chair of DWPs Women in Digital (WID) network, and other senior female advocates in digital, the women are buddied with a ‘friend’ and receive tailored development and coaching. Nine women joined the first cohort, its success leading to cohort 2 in January 2019 with 14 new DVs.
Over 5-months they’re taking part in regular learning sessions including: using social media, blogging and interviewing skills as well as joining sessions from industry wide guest speakers. They’ll be provided with speaking opportunities and options to take part in various events and conferences. They are given an online VIP area where they can share information and log their personal journey.
DWP Digital host an annual WID conference to encourage a shift in behaviour around gender bias. It aims to inspires females into tech roles while looking at what we can do to make digital an attractive place to work. The DVs took an active part in last year’s conference and will help shape this year’s event by talking about their experience and sharing examples of how we are building an inclusive environment.
The LGBTI Staff Network serves staff in SG and a number of agencies across multiple cities. Over the past year we have held multiple staff networking events, run in-house diversity training events across several divisions of the Scottish Government, run LGBTI awareness induction training for staff, and supported SG delegations to Pride marches. We have engaged with the SG diversity team to ensure that LGBTI awareness training is accurate, widespread and linked to the network, so that guidance about LGBTI staff wellbeing is shaped by LGBTI staff.
The network was key to ensuring that Scottish Government rewrote its trans policy and guidance, putting lived experience at the heart of its development. We have ensured that trans inclusion is embedded into the design principles shaping SG buildings and facilities.
We have produced and disseminated rainbow lanyards to allow LGBTI staff and allies to publically show their support for LGBTI rights.
Feedback from Stonewall and internal monitoring in recent years led us to do more to specifically represent and support Bi staff and staff who identify as trans or non-binary. Network members have written articles for internal staff news for many events including Trans visibility day, Pride, LGBT history month and Bi visibility day, in which network members talk about their own experiences. The number of network members prepared to use their full names in these articles has increased over time, which we believe reflects that staff are becoming more comfortable with ‘bringing their whole selves to work’, an ideal which senior allies are key in promoting. We produced a poster campaign for LGBT history month spread across all SG buildings.
Our yammer web discussion group means discussions can take place openly and collaboratively and gives all members the chance to share ideas, plan events and ask questions.
The Bristol Race Network have made an outstnding contribution in championing HMRC’s ambition for a more inclusive workplace.
The cross-directorate Network commenced in January 2018 and has since played a pivotal role especially when recent racial incidents were reported in HMRC in Bristol.
By engaging Network members it enabled the business contain the situation and avert damage to the Department’s reputation. The safe forum allowed discussion of common issues, provided advice and support from peers and offered insight to help senior leadership understand the issues. This was influenced and driven from our BAME members who were encouraged to speak openly about the challenges they were facing in the workplace because of their Race.
Once the issues were understood, key members from the Network developed a proactive business plan incorporating a number of cross-directorate initiatives and worked in partnership with all lines of business to drive this forward. This included development and delivery of a groundbreaking bespoke workshop to raise Race awareness which gained high level interest and was made mandatory for all managers in Bristol; and a Reverse Mentoring Programme where 20 BAME staff and senior leaders worked together to raise awareness about issues affecting BAME staff leading to strong working relationships between BAME members of staff and senior leaders.
By collaborating with senior stakeholders including amongst others CCG Director General, Regional Senior Leadership Group, HR Inclusion Team and D&I Networks, the Network used evidence-based stats and concerns to challenge race inequalities. This resulted in senior leaders changing local people management policies to help eliminate incidents of bullying, harassment or discrimination against BAME employees and to foster a more inclusive workplace.
In addition, the Network helped influence a high level change to communication lines between local Race Networks and national tier resulting in HMRC Regions now being represented on the national Race Steering Group facilitating cohesion and improved dissemination of news and resource across the networks.
A survey conducted by the Network a year after commencement shows increased engagement and optimism amongst BAME members. They feel better informed, more confident to speak up individually or collectively about their concerns and increased support from development opportunities and conversations they could not have imagined possible a year ago
The network recognised that DfE would be unlikely to be able to identify the best ways to make improvements – or accurately measure success – without fully understanding the current make-up of the department; this included representation across grades and locations, staff sentiment and any barriers to progression being experienced. We therefore selected ‘Expanding our knowledge through data’ as an early priority work strand.
In Spring 2018, the network asked staff to have their say on social mobility in DfE by undertaking a short survey to support the department’s Social Mobility Employer Index entry – over 1000 staff members participated, sharing their views on culture within DfE. Building on this, the Network was successful in securing buy-in from the DfE People Committee to carry out a further, more detailed survey on the socio-economic background of staff members within the department for the first time. Acknowledging that it would be important to lay the groundwork for this survey, particularly in helping our staff to understand why we wanted to collect this data, we worked with our Internal Communications colleagues to formulate a comprehensive comms plan and develop clear messaging in advance of the launch.
Engagement with our survey campaign far exceeded expectations. The Network’s Chair, Andy Hurdle, wrote a blog that focused on ‘Privilege’ to encourage an open conversation and trail the survey launch – this became the second-most read intranet blog in a 15-month span, receiving 2,334 page views, far outstripping the DfE average. The subsequent intranet article that formally launched the survey received 4,734 page views, putting it in the top 10 most read articles in 2019. The response to the survey itself was overwhelmingly positive, receiving over 3,500 responses and providing a rich source of data, ensuring we can successfully measure our progress on social diversity initiatives over time against a baseline.
The Network is highly visible in supporting members with activities receiving significant positive feedback across the board. The Network’s strategic impact is also clearly recognised by Civil Service leaders. Achievements include:
•The SCS Shadowing Scheme offers exceptional learning placements including opportunities to shadow very senior roles. Over 400 members participated in 2018 and in 2019; over 1000 have benefitted overall. The Scheme is extremely highly rated: 95% of evaluations received on shadowing completion rated the value as very useful or excellent. Some members have secured new roles as a result and many ongoing mentoring relationships have developed.
•Hundreds of BAME G6/7 women attended Women in Leadership sessions enabling leadership discussions with women in very senior roles. The Network also held a very successful International Men’s Day event promoting BAME SCS male role models.
•The Network’s Charter for Change outlines quick wins for departmental / professional leads in supporting BAME G6/7s. Sir Richard Heaton has circulated this to all Race Champions; some departments are already adopting the measures.
•The Network has established subgroups along professional lines. HR and finance subgroups are in place with a commercial subgroup being developed. These enable closer ties amongst peers and with professional leads and have facilitated attendance at SCS conferences.
•Many BAME G6/7s applied to participate in the Reimagine Challenge this year. John Manzoni specifically opened-up the application process to members after we highlighted the lack of prior ethnic diversity.
•The Network offers advisory support to departments on race and diversity including advice on: establishing shadowing and reverse mentoring schemes, D&I action planning and tackling BHD.
•The Network focuses on encouraging the wider pipeline with a highly visible presence at key events including BAME into Leadership and delivering Let’s Talk About Race sessions with HMRC’s Embrace Network across Civil Service Live locations.