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Civil Service

Civil Service Awards 2015: Diplomatic Academy

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I’m Jon Davies and I’m director of the Diplomatic Academy.

We’re really excited that the Academy has been shortlisted for one of the Civil Service Awards this year for Building Capability and Skills.

We think that’s a recognition of something we’ve tried to do that innovative and imaginative, using new techniques, as a way of making sure that everyone who works on international issues right across government has got the skills and knowledge they need to do their job even better.

The Diplomatic Academy is still new, it’s very exciting for us to be shortlisted for this award, we hope we win it but we’re very excited to be shortlisted! More important we hope that this will encourage more and more people, not just across the Foreign Office, not just across our network, but right across the Civil Service and people working on international issues for the British Government to come and use the Academy to become even better at what they do.

The Building Capability and Skills Award

Sponsored by CGI

Recognising a team or collective leadership group that has displayed excellence in promoting skills development across teams or operational units and can show evidence of a significant and sustainable contribution in increasing skills and the positive business outcomes achieved as a result. This should include:

  • embedding good practices in determining evolving development needs and real innovation in addressing them
  • ensuring that learning is captured and can be disseminated to others to help spread good practice
  • investing in our people to build the right balance of capability, talent and experience to be effective now and in the future

Why was the Diplomatic Academy shortlisted?

The FCO's Diplomatic Academy – which opened in February 2015 – is leading the way across government in designing engaging, topical and innovative learning for a wide and diverse audience.

Created in response to the identified need for a focal point for knowledge and skills for staff working on international issues, currently, an average of 415 FCO staff access Foundation materials via the internal intranet every month, and the initial government-wide take-up has been encouraging - some 80 Home Office staff signed up for Foundation learning at the initial launch. Over 90 teams at overseas Posts have also started Academy learning – including many cross-government teams – while new FCO recruits have benefitted from the inclusion of Academy learning in a more comprehensive and effective induction programme.

Sharing content with other departments through internet links, and ensuring content can be downloaded onto smartphones, the Academy has identified creative ways to share expertise on the FCO's intranet despite the technical limitations of government systems and for the first time, staff at Posts with limited internet connectivity or time zone issues have benefitted from the fresh and challenging thinking that external speakers bring.

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