2016 Winners

Take a look at the 2016 Diveristy and Inclusion Award winners!

Championing Inclusion Award 
Joanna Parry, Entry Clearance Officer, Home Office

Jo is an Entry Clearance Officer in Pretoria, South Africa. She was, last year asked to cover the role of Entry Clearance Manager, taking on the responsibility of a Better Management Programme.

Along with her other line management duties, and operational demands, Jo has taken the responsibility of turning the visa section into an inclusive environment where staff feel able to voice their concerns and feel they are being listened to.

Pretoria visa section historically has many legacy issues surrounding race, and Jo has been able implement a number of initiatives that has turned the section around in only a few short months, and having only arrived in the country less than 18 months ago.

One of her first tasks was to organise an away day for all visa staff. Her ideas included activities that allowed staff to 'see the bigger picture', communicate through non verbal messaging and also covered bullying, harassment and discrimination sessions. Alongside making the day fun and interactive, she also managed to blend it into the core competency framework.
Jo also introduced a RESPECT poster to the team. She organised focus groups following the poor results of the staff survey. All staff were able to say what they thought the section needed to do in order to highlight respect, and what it meant to them.

Alongside this Jo has put up a 'vent wall'. This is a place where staff can really say what they feel anonymously. This has really taken off and staff appreciate that management is finally listening to all views, despite how uncomfortable they may be.

Finally, Jo arranged 'vent clinics'. This involved her holding a 1:1 meeting with every single member of staff to tell her in confidence what worked in the section, what didn’t and what could be improved.

Championing Gender Award
Ellie Binks, National Offender Management Service and Keela Shackell-Smith, Environment Agency 

I can think of no greater, more enthusiastic gender champions than Ellie and Keela. They met at a job share event in Nov 2014 - ironically the only two not seeking a job share. They talked about how hard it was to make contact with Women's Network leads in Government, and how there must be a much easier way to connect and work together. In January 2015, they set up the first 'network of networks' meeting to connect leads and have a way to share knowledge and expertise on running Women's/ Gender networks, and went on to form the Cross Government Women's Network.

Within one year, Ellie and Keela's drive and leadership had meant the network grew from zero to 96 network leads, from 32 Departments/ Agency's and the newsletter they coproduce reaches over 1600 people.

Keela and Ellie's impact as network leads is unquestionably impressive. In a recent survey to all network members 86% of respondents said that the network had made them feel more supported in their role as network leads, and 95% said it enhances networking opportunities. Having attended some of these meetings myself, I can vouch for the key role Ellie and Keela personally play in providing exceptional leadership.

They are creative and ambitious with ideas, having recently set up a scheme with Sarah Rapson (Home Office DG) to establish mentoring relationships between female DGs and network leads.

To be clear, this nomination is not for the network though - it is for Ellie and Keela themselves as incredible individuals and the driving forces behind so much impressive work going on across government on gender. As well as setting up the network together, they have individually led a huge amount of work within their departments and across government to drive towards their ultimate goal of gender equality.

Championing Disabled People Award
Personal Tax Raising Disability Awareness Team, HM Revenue & Customs

Feedback from disabled colleagues supported by an analysis of HR data showed managers were not considering disability issues, particularly in relation to reasonable adjustments and the performance management processes. This negatively impacted disabled colleagues performance assessment, career progression and engagement levels.

A small team of frontline staff set out to change this situation by developing a Masterclass for our managers and leaders. The aim was to raise disability awareness and develop managers' capability to support disabled colleagues. We nominate this team as we see this as innovation at its finest.

There were big challenges. To be effective the masterclass needed the support of our senior leaders (busy people with very full diaries). The masterclass had to be designed to have lasting impact, sufficient to persuade managers to engage with the subject and consider the perspective of our disabled colleagues.

The team met these challenges by gaining the cooperation of key stakeholders: Our CEO agreed to provide a video interview for the masterclass (quite a scoop)! Our Disability Champion declared his support, senior staff in our video production unit, our professional diversity staff (as subject experts) and the most important group, disabled colleagues from all lines of business who shared their personal experiences of working for HMRC and barriers encountered on film.

The team devised a comprehensive communication plan and also used the departmental Pulse magazine to promote the masterclass and the messages within it, across the whole department (circa 60,000 staff).

The team recruited 60 disabled and non-disabled volunteers to facilitate the Masterclass. 85% of facilitators were administrative grade with no previous delivery experience. Every facilitator was given a bespoke structured Learning Programme. This included one day classroom-based training event on facilitation skills delivered by Civil Service Learning, an overview of disability legislation and a session on a managers' responsibilities.

Employee Network Excellence Award 
Religion and Ethnic Minority (REM) Network, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

DECC Religion and Ethnic Minority (REM) Network, formed in 2008, provides a significant and comprehensive package of activities to support 200+ members and wider DECC staff in career development; and influences the culture and composition of DECC through integrating diversity and inclusion into business processes.

Key initiatives include:

• Monthly Coaching sessions (36 sessions held to date for all DECC staff with 700 attendees), involving role models sharing career journeys, and workshops on civil service competency examples. This is followed up with 1:1 support to review application forms and carry out mock interviews.
• A highly credible Mentoring Scheme using a thorough and considered matching process, and the provision of guidance and training.
• Delivering an innovative Reverse Mentoring Scheme delivered on behalf of all protected characteristics, running for 18 months, directly aimed at DECC's SCS to influence real improvements on diversity and inclusion issues. This includes providing a matching service and training.
• A professional Executive Committee Outreach scheme providing bespoke talent development and confidential advice for members including on bullying and harassment issues.
• Strategically influencing HR Policies and driving development of DECC's Diversity Vision and Action Plan, and supporting delivery of a large proportion of the Permanent Secretary's diversity objectives
• Facilitating cultural awareness raising events including Holocaust Memorial Day, Chinese New Year and Diwali; and delivering wellbeing/social events such as a Book club, Film Club, and Tai Chi classes.
• Building the capability of line managers, for example providing guidance to line managers to support staff observing Ramadan
• Developing diversity tools and facilitating sessions on diversity for group and directorate away days
• Sharing best practice on employee diversity networks and diversity initiatives with other Government departments, agencies and private and academic sectors.

Championing Minority Ethnic People Award 
Mushtaq Raj, Compliance Review Implementation Team Manager, Home Office

Mushtaq is the ultimate role model for BAME causes. This has been demonstrated through his leadership role for THE NETWORK. This is the Home Office's BAME staff network which has approximately 3000 members.

Key activities
a) A key aim of the Home Office Diversity Strategy is to improve the staff survey results for bullying, harassment and discrimination (BHD).

Mushtaq delivered BHD sessions nationally as part of Anti Bullying week focusing on 'BHD: Don't suffer in silence. He advised participants that they should come directly to THE NETWORK where he has provided a personalised service to support individuals suffering from BHD. Over the years he has effectively dealt with over 200 personal cases, which has lead to successful outcomes. He advocates an informal resolution process, which ensures a mutually beneficial outcome for all parties.

b) To help develop the talent pipeline for BAME staff and combat the shrinking nature of the Civil Service Mushtaq has developed and delivered a bespoke Core Competency and Interview Techniques workshops nationally across the Home Office. Working closely with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) Mushtaq produced a document outlining how they will recruit and identify talent. These recruitment principles are a powerful message of UKVI's commitment to ensure that fairness and transparency is critical in all recruitment and selection decisions.

c) Home Office Performance Development Review (PDR) data highlights that BAME staff are overrepresented in the lower box marking and underrepresented in the top box marking. In order to redress the diversity imbalance for BAME staff Mushtaq delivered workshops for Line Managers and staff on how to draft quality PDR summaries. This was done through a customized one hour PDR workshop (to minimise impact on operations) focusing on giving staff and line managers a better understanding of the process and guidance on drafting effective PDR summaries.

Championing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender, Intersex People Award 
PRISM - Welsh Government LGBTI+ Staff Network

PRISM Co-Chairs Sue Vincent-Jones and Phil Jenkins have been instrumental in revitalising our LGBTI+ staff network - whilst maintaining a strong performance in their high-pressure, demanding day job.

They became Co-Chairs in April 2014, revitalising the Network and completing the first ever Stonewall Equality Index submission just six months later. Within two years PRISM, under their leadership, Welsh Government has moved up 178 places to 17th in the UK Stonewall Equality Workplace Index. We are placed 4th in Wales.

One of the first ever Stonewall Role Models, and a Cabinet Office Diversity Champion, Sue uses her role to promote the Network. She is a guest speaker for the Springboard Women's Programme, was recently a panel member at Stonewall's Women in Leadership Event. And they both regularly represent PRISM at a number of external events such as Pride Cymru, the Iris Prize Opening Night, Transforum Cymru Binary Exhibition and at the Civil Service Rainbow Alliance Conference in London.

They have shown leadership by: the rebrand, the complete change of focus, new leaflets, new banners, the Allies Programme and marketing collateral such as wristbands for every member to promote inclusion, and corporate clothing to show professionalism.

Profile has been raised by a refreshed and revitalised Intranet presence, a series of photo opportunities with senior colleagues to celebrate events such as LGBTI History Month, Bi-Visibility Day and the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), Equality and Diversity Week and the Stonewall No Bystanders Campaign.

Engaging events organised include presentations from; LGBTI Historian Noreena Shapland, academic and lecturer in Ancient Greek Civilisation Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, Transforum Youth Cymru, and Iris Prize Director Berwyn Rowlands.

Sue, along with fellow Co-Chair Phil Jenkins have increased membership by showing leadership; acting as role models; raising the profile and sharing our success internally and externally.


Offical photographs from the awards ceremony on Friday 14 October can be found on the UK Civil Service Flickr page