Jenny Munday on why promoting diversity and inclusion is of crucial importance for the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel.
Working in a place that values diversity and inclusion is very important to me. If people feel able to bring their whole self to work it can have a huge impact on the culture of an organisation. When people are valued for who they are, they can fully contribute and I believe that everyone benefits.
On a personal level, having worked in places where I sometimes felt I didn’t fit in, I know how limiting working in less inclusive environments can be – to motivation, productivity and creativity. I’m also very aware of the importance of ensuring that a workplace is diverse as well as inclusive. And the two are linked – making sure a workplace is inclusive promotes diversity over time and a diverse workplace will be more inclusive.
I have been really fortunate to join the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel (“the Office”) at a time when we are embracing change and looking for ways to do things differently. The Office is the team of lawyers in the Cabinet Office, charged with drafting the Government’s primary legislation.
The benefits of having a diverse workforce to draft legislation, which reflects the varied make up of our society, have not been overlooked and this is a goal that the Office is committed to and working towards.
In the last few years, we have been busy working on projects focused on disadvantaged or underrepresented groups in the law to raise awareness of our work as well as to promote legal careers in the Office and the government more widely.
This has included setting up a University Engagement Group to target universities with a diverse student profile and to run talks about the Office and drafting exercises. We also offer opportunities to play our board game Legislate?!, which is a really fun way to find out more about the legislative process by taking a Bill through to enactment.
We have also hosted insight days for students including work shadowing, tours of Parliament and the Supreme Court. It has been a fantastic way to get to know people from lots of different backgrounds and we are always bowled over by the students’ enthusiasm and commitment.
We also see the importance of developing the Office from within. In common with many other parts of the legal sector, Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups are underrepresented in our workforce. We have set up a Race Strategy Group to work on this and tackle associated issues.
We are committed to promoting inclusive behaviours within the Office as well as expanding our own perspectives on diversity and inclusion issues. This has included offering training on how to become a Race Ally as well as running a series of team conversations about issues relating to race. More widely, we have offered training on becoming a LGBT+ Ally and a number of people across the Office are also involved in mentoring schemes. We have many more plans for the year ahead.
I feel fortunate to be part of this work at the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. It really does feel like an area where the more you put in the more you have to gain. We are at the beginning of our journey, but I am proud to work for an organisation that is not afraid to face some of the difficult questions to help us improve and to build a better workplace that is truly diverse and inclusive.