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Civil Service

Civil Service Live 2022: Meet the Speakers

Andrew Jones, presenting at Civil Service Live
Meet our star speakers: Andrew Jones, presenting at Civil Service Live

Woohoo! It’s nearly time to take Civil Service Live 2022 on the road. We put the spotlight on some of this year’s guest speakers and hear why they can’t wait to take to the stage.


Whatever your perception of pensions, Andrew Jones turns it on its head in one of CSL’s most perennially popular sessions. 

Whitney Houston

How do you make a traditionally dry and complicated subject entertaining and easy to understand? Easy: know your subject matter, find some catchy music and cover it in sequins! 

Meat Loaf to Whitney

At the last face-to-face events in 2019, our theme was Pension Power Ballads, featuring some banging tunes from Meat Loaf to Whitney Houston, tuxedos, sparkly shirts and ball gowns, plus a glitter ball or two.

All this fanfare was designed to grab the attention and eyes of delegates, entice them to come and speak to us at the Civil Service Pensions stand, and attend one of our presentations. 

Andrew Jones, pensions presenter, CSLOur aim then, and now, is to change people's perceptions of pensions and bring it to the forefront of their personal financial planning. All those individuals who help on our stand are passionate about pensions and more than willing to help our members understand why their pension is important, and how, with some careful planning, it will provide a secure income for the future.

It's my purpose to help our members understand their pension and how it can help them fulfil their passions when they retire, whether that's basket weaving or travelling Route 66.

Dare to dream

So what will Civil Service Pensions deliver at Civil Service Live 2022? We want people to visualise what they want to do when they retire, what activities they’re eager to do, which hobbies float their boat, what holidays they’re dreaming about. By saving for your future, your retirement can help you fulfil those passions - after all, you do deserve it.


With fraud sharply rising in the pandemic, Deputy Director of Public Sector Fraud, Laura Eshelby will share valuable tips so you don’t become a victim

Laura Eshelby

I’m a big fan of Civil Service Live. This is my 21st year in the Civil Service, and I’ve been going at least every other year, both as delegate and a speaker. I can really see the value of taking time out, getting to understand different professions and learning what other people across the Civil Service do. I find it interesting and get really energised. This year, I’ll be talking on 5 Things You Need To Know About Fraud

Valuable, practical tips

Fraud is the biggest crime in the UK. Everyone has either been affected personally, or knows a victim of fraud. I promise, if you come along, you’ll take away valuable practical tips on how to keep yourself and your part of the Civil Service safe. 

We’ll share how people can access tools, information and join forums and communities, if they’re particularly interested. We have an information stand so come and ‘Ask the Experts!’ 

Targeting tragedies

Back in 2020, we launched guidance on the back of the Australian bush fires, How to Manage Fraud in an Emergency Situation, two months before the pandemic hit. We explained that criminals always target tragedies. We saw it at Grenfell and unfortunately, we’ll see it with Ukraine. Criminals always seize an opportunity, so people should be vigilant when giving to charities.  Whenever there’s a crisis, criminals are lurking, ready to target all the charities who work really hard to help. 

Woman asks a question at Civil Service Live in GlasgowIf you haven’t been to CSL before, come along and be open to learning about new things, including fraud. It really is a great day to get a one-stop-shop of all the different professions showcased in one place. I really encourage everyone to invest time in themselves to come and get involved.


John Anderson and Nathan King can’t wait to present their light-hearted comedy session - Rules that Apply to Being a Civil Servant and Stand-Up Comedian.

John Anderson DfE.jpeg

“Nathan,” I said one morning, “it’s been ages since I’ve made a complete banana of myself in front of hundreds of people.” 

“Yes, I was just thinking the same thing,” said Nathan. “Of course, Civil Service Live 2022 is coming up, how about that?”

“Excellent,” I said, “But we must come up with a catchy title.” And so the germ of our joint session The Stand-Up Mirror – Rules that Apply to Being a Civil Servant and Stand-Up Comedian was born. 

John Anderson, standup comic and civil servant
John Anderson

I’ve performed comedy for 20 years under the name Hartley Pool, mostly overseas, while working for the British Council. However, since returning to the UK and joining the Department for Education, I recently landed my first comedy Final (Hartley Pool at BCG Pro 2021 final). Nathan came to watch, and it’s been curiously difficult to get hold of him since.  

Other highlights of my sideline include being booed off at the Comedy Store Gong Show, opening a show for Alan Carr (“Oh dear love, don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.”) and publishing my debut novel, Stranger in Taiwan (“Truly awful, one star.”)

Potentially catastrophic

We hope that’s whetted your appetite. We can promise a rare outing of Sammi the Psychic Cat, revealing how things relate to Civil Service Behaviours and guest spots from a very Senior Civil Servant at the climax of each show. So if you’re a Civil Service big-hitter and feel it’s been way too long since you did something potentially catastrophic, please get in touch.


From teenage AO to thriving Grade 7 civil servant, Vicky McGurk is living proof you can overcome childhood adversity to forge success.

Vicky McGurk, Department of Health & Social Care
Vicky McGurk, Department of Health & Social Care

I’m presenting the Smashing the Glass Ceiling session because I’m so passionate about it. I want civil servants to hear inspirational stories about how people have overcome adversity to forge careers in the Civil Service despite other struggles. 

Born and raised in one of Blackburn’s poorest council estates, my early life wasn’t easy. My only guaranteed hot meal was my free school meal. Life was tough being the eldest of five, with parents on benefits, who couldn’t read, write, or help with homework. 

I want civil servants to leave my session fired up with fresh inspiration. I want to get the message out that the Civil Service is where you can fulfil your potential, no matter what your start in life is. I started as a teenage AO, yet today, I lead teams across the UK and Europe - I’m so proud of that. And I truly believe, if you cut me down the middle, I’d have ‘Civil Service’ running through me like a stick of Blackpool rock. 

Own who you are

My top tip for smashing the glass ceiling is to own who you are. For far too long, I’ve met people who changed their accents to get on in the Civil Service. I always tell them, “Be proud of your accent and where you come from - your experiences make you stand out from the crowd.” 

I encourage colleagues to be authentic and say, don’t just reach for the easiest cloud. If you believe in yourself and have a strong personal development plan, the Civil Service will wrap itself around you to ensure you can reach the moon and stars. You just need to believe it.


Lynsey Murray is a Senior Inclusive Practice Lead in the Civil Service Inclusive Practice team.

Lynsey Murray, Senior Inclusive Practice Lead Civil Service Inclusive Practice Team, Cabinet Office
Lynsey Murray

I’m really excited to present the Diversity and Inclusion session at Civil Service Live. In February, we launched the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Strategy promoting fairness and performance. I can’t wait to engage with civil servants across the UK. We’ll outline the strategic priorities, discuss how this can drive tangible change for all our people and share how everyone can get involved in building a more skilled, innovative and ambitious organisation.

Our team will talk about how the new strategy fits in with government reform and how we can all make a positive difference. The session is for anyone interested in helping to create change and build an open and inclusive culture.

Ripple effect

During the session, there’s a couple of activities designed to really get you thinking about the small changes you can make. These changes can cause a ripple effect to help support your colleagues, team and organisation. As well as promoting fairness and performance, we want to help everyone flourish.

I always enjoy attending Civil Service Live, making new connections and demonstrating how the blueprint for D&I delivery can help improve our culture and ways of working. 

It’s always great to wander round the exhibits to find out more. I’m also looking forward to visiting all the locations, and hope to find time to explore and see the sights. I’m especially looking forward to Blackpool and hoping I get to walk along the beachfront. 

Civil Service Live Locations

Audience member asking a question at CSL Glasgow

Civil Service Live takes place in Edinburgh International Conference Centre (15 June), Cardiff City Hall (21 June), Blackpool Winter Gardens (28 June), Northumbria University, Newcastle (30 June) and ExCel London (5-6 July).

Registration is open on the Civil Service Live website. Why not sign up to hear from some of the great speakers featured in this article?◼︎

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