Spectrum Event Team (a partnership of CS Local, Met Office and DWP)
Spectrum: LGBTI event in Exeter
The majority of LGB&TI events are in London. It’s often difficult for LGB&TI staff in rural regions to connect and awareness of issues facing LGB&TI staff can be low. The south-west has one of the highest regional figures for LGBO discrimination, bullying and harassment in the Civil Service people survey.
The concept of a cross-departmental LGB&TI event for the south-west was developed. A partnership team was formed comprising Nick Frampton, Heidi Stephens and Nita Murphy of CS Local, Tiger Strode of DWP and Rob Springett, Helen Wells and Kirsty McBeath, from the Met Office.
The agreed event criteria were: a fully inclusive event representing the whole LGB&TI community; senior Civil Servant support; engaging public and private sectors; appealing to allies and managers; educational and informative and a South West feel.
We designed an ambitious programme with a choice of workshops, talks, Q&A sessions, networking and drop-in stalls. The team worked on this around day jobs, identifying and persuading key figures both internal and external to support the event, which we called Spectrum.
Session topics included developing LGBT+ networks, allies, trans inclusion, bisexuality, intersex awareness, older LGBT+ people, challenges for South West LGB&TI staff, intersectionality and race, and LGB&TI mental health. Sessions were interactive – staff asked questions, networked and shared personal experiences of being LGB&TI or supporting colleagues who are.
Delegates had a choice of 18 sessions including a facilitated networking session discussing ways to work together across departments to support LGB&TI staff and reduce bullying and harassment.
We are unaware of an event of this scale for LGB&TI Civil Servants and allies anywhere else within the Civil Service. Delivering this in Devon as a newly formed partnership, attracting senior buy-in and maintaining a uniquely south-west LGB&TI perspective, with very little budget, we consider truly innovative.