I am delighted to announce that Sue Owen, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), will be taking on the role of Civil Service Diversity Champion from the beginning of August.
Sue is replacing Simon Fraser, who is stepping down as Permanent Secretary at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office at the end of July. During his time as Civil Service Diversity Champion, Simon has spearheaded a renewed focus on diversity and inclusion across the Civil Service, including the publication of the Talent Action Plan in September, and a refresh of that in March. I am grateful to Simon for his leadership and passion, which has ensured that diversity and inclusion have been at the very heart of the Civil Service leadership agenda for the last year.
Sue has been committed to inclusion in the workplace for many years, and for the last year has been a powerful advocate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender colleagues in her role as Civil Service LGB&T Champion. I am delighted that she is going to continue with this role alongside her new wider remit.
Commenting on her new appointment, Sue said:
Over the past year I have seen the passion and dedication that civil servants all over the country demonstrate when it comes to celebrating diversity and inclusion. On Saturday, for the second year running, I joined our Civil Service Rainbow Alliance colleagues marching at London Pride. Such events show how far we have come, but also remind us that we must continue to defend the right for all individuals to thrive and succeed, no matter their background or identity.
I’m thrilled to be taking on this role at such an important time in the Civil Service’s journey. Under Simon’s stewardship we are clearer than ever on the barriers facing our colleagues from under-represented groups, and on what needs to be done to remove them. I look forward to working closely with my fellow permanent secretary champions to ensure that those actions become reality for civil servants all over the country.
In March, we published the ‘Priority Actions on Social Mobility’. This shone a light on the need for us to do more to ensure that people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds choose the Civil Service as a career and progress and rise through the ranks. In response, we are:
- doubling the number of places on our Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme from 200 to 450 at Level 4 for this September
- expanding our Level 3 Apprenticeship schemes further, particularly into areas identified as capabilities gaps, such as commercial
- scoping a degree-level Apprenticeship in Business Management and piloting a degree-level Apprenticeship in Digital and Technology starting this autumn.
We will shortly be commissioning a piece of research to offer insights into how we can go further, particularly to attract more people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to join the Civil Service Fast Stream. I am, therefore, delighted to announce that Jon Thompson, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, will be taking on the new role of Civil Service Social Mobility Champion to lead this work.
Commenting on his appointment, Jon said:
Ensuring that the Civil Service is attracting, developing and retaining the most talented individuals has never been more important. We know that the most successful teams are those that represent diversity of thought, experience and background. We know that we have more to do on social mobility, and that we don’t yet have all the answers.
The research we are commissioning will give us strong insights into the barriers faced by those looking to join the Civil Service from lower socio-economic backgrounds. I am excited about driving this work forward. Social mobility is something that is close to my heart – I went to a comprehensive school, took an apprenticeship at 18 and find myself now as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence.
I am passionate about encouraging individuals from all backgrounds to aim high and achieve their potential too, and in doing so to help the Civil Service become a truly socially inclusive employer.