On Tuesday night, Richard Heaton and I attended the 19th annual Race for Opportunity Awards Dinner. It was an uplifting event that recognised outstanding efforts by organisations in the public, private and third sectors to support recruitment and progress of BME staff.
I am delighted that four Civil Service Teams were recognised for the great things they are doing to support our diversity agenda. There was really tough competition – our teams were up against some of the best companies on this issue such as HSBC, Shell and BT.
Our winners were:
- The cross-Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Team collected the “Future Workforce – Large Employers” Award on behalf of the Civil Service. This award acknowledges the Whitehall Internship programme as a “best in class” initiative, raising the aspirations of young Black and Minority Ethnic people from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Over 500 young people have completed the one-day and two-week programmes, and 91% of those participating told us they want to have a future career in the Civil Service.
- HM Revenue and Customs won the “Developing Talent Award - Progression” for their “Embrace” Programme, which supports and develops talented minority ethnic employees by preparing them for leadership roles and helping them achieve their career aspirations. This programme has grown from 20 places in its first year to 72 in 2014, with several participants already promoted.
- Peter Lewis from Crown Prosecution Service was highly commended for the “Champion Award,” as an individual demonstrating significant leadership within the workplace in order to progress the race equality, diversity and inclusion agenda. Peter reinforces the leadership commitment to race equality by participating in a range of employee and community engagement activities.
- And finally, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my own department was highly commended for the “Recruiting Diverse Talent Award” – for our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Campaign’s University Outreach, designed to make the Foreign and Commonwealth Office more representative of modern Britain. Through this campaign we engaged with over 2000 students, and forged strong links with 28 UK Universities, which continue to promote the department among their minority ethnic students.
These Awards have recognised just a few of the actions we are taking to attract and retain talented individuals, and the commitment being made to create a truly open and inclusive culture across the Civil Service. A commitment we set out in the new “Talent Action Plan: Barriers to Success” published earlier this month.
You read in Jeremy Heywood’s blog why the Plan is important and what it sets out to achieve. For the first time, I think, we have clear actions on diversity and inclusion for every department to deliver and be held to account by the Civil Service Board. But the hard work doesn’t stop now that it’s published. What really matters is that it is implemented in each department.
I say all the time that diversity is for everyone. We are all different: everyone has a gender, a race, an age and increasingly more of us have to work under flexible working arrangements or take on caring responsibilities. We also have different experiences and come from different backgrounds. The Plan is a crucial step to addressing the challenges we face to help all talented hard working individuals succeed, so that our Civil Service performs more strongly as a result.
Well done and congratulations once again, to all our successful teams.