Bernadette Thompson and Anita Bhalla - Co-Chairs Race to the top Network
The cross-government Race to the Top G6/7 Network is a prominent multi-award winning group supporting over 1000 BAME colleagues in the SCS feeder grades to thrive and progress. The Network’s continuing impact in the Civil Service and beyond is widely recognised. The Network delivers substantial programmes offering practical member support, continues to inform the CS strategic approach to race inclusion and provides authoritative advisory support to an increasing number of internal and external bodies on addressing senior BAME underrepresentation. These achievements rest on the discretionary effort of the co-Chairs Anita Bhalla and Bernadette Thompson.
Key aims are providing:
•a regular forum for BAME G6/7s to meet and strengthen personal cross government networks
•a stronger collective member voice on challenges and solutions to senior BAME under-representation
•innovative programmes increasing preparedness for leadership at the next levels
•higher visibility and support of aspiring BAME G6/7s, facilitating access to very senior leaders.
The Network delivers a remarkably high volume of leadership and training events including the flagship BAME G6/7 – SCS Shadowing Scheme sponsored by the Cabinet Secretary, the largest annual diversity initiative run by any network. It also runs a substantial Women in Leadership series enabling hundreds of BAME women to safely discuss leadership and intersectionality with very senior women. It is also highly proactive in promoting a CS opportunities including the recent batch SCS recruitment campaigns.
The Network has prominently supported members and wider BAME colleagues during challenges of lockdown, differential Covid impacts and following BLM. This includes driving a significantly increased focus on mental health support for BAME colleagues across government. The Network has also directly informed various Civil-Service wide initiatives to address senior BAME underrepresentation.
The Network has a breadth of ongoing external partnerships increasing scale and impact including relationships with the FDA, Institute for Government, CS Local and Apolitical.