We often talk about Diversity and inclusion being at the heart of the Civil Service and I take great pride in that. If we are inclusive every day, we will all be more productive, confident and feel valued. That’s why it is so important to me that Government Shared Services (GSS) takes this seriously and makes our directorate a great place to work.
It’s with great pride that the team and I wear Brilliant Civil Service lanyards having been recognised for our contribution to modernising shared services across government while making sure that innovation is at the heart of what we do. It has been the cornerstone of our approach so we release potential from every single staff member. We could only have achieved so much so soon with a strong, committed diverse team where everyone is encouraged to bring their ‘whole self to work’ and be inclusive.
We are a diverse team across, gender, age-range, as well as socio-economic and cultural/ethnic backgrounds; we strive to ensure everyone has a voice with all perspectives welcome, placing intrinsic value on social mobility and supporting career opportunities for under-represented groups. This diversity of experience and perspective puts us in a strong position to deliver flexibly and innovatively in a complex, multiple stakeholder environment.
Our diverse workforce includes parents; carers; colleagues located all over the UK; people with physical and learning disabilities; people studying, as well as those commuting lengthy distances on a regular basis. Taking an interest in each other, asking questions, connecting colleagues, learning what each other does and taking time to collaborate are the little actions that make a big impact.
GSS’ Team Charter, developed by staff, promotes a set of corporate values (Respect; Openness; Trust; Integrity and Honesty; Impartiality and Objectivity; and, Positivity) because we know that it is repeated daily behaviours and reinforcement that truly engage staff and make a difference to how valued they feel. With its supporting principles, the Charter underpins our inclusive culture, relationships with stakeholders and with each other. Our senior team endorses this approach and they live these values in their day to day behaviour - this is true inclusivity.
We were the first team to introduce an age network - ‘Age in the Workplace’ - opening it up to the wider Cabinet Office audience to create a departmental network; we initiated and coordinated a university student outreach visit where students and teachers attended sessions about routes into the Civil Service and met senior government officials. It was inspiring and rewarding to see students ‘open their eyes’ to the possibilities for example in workshops for under-represented women to address cultural barriers to enable career progression. The age network is not just for staff over a certain age, it’s about fairness in all aspects of our work and recognition of any unconscious biases people may have towards younger or older colleagues.
This makes a start on a variety of inclusion issues but I recognise there is still more we can do. GSS can only be successful if it encourages the best from everyone regardless of background, age, or any other characteristic, is fit for the future and truly inclusive - I’m proud to be part of that movement.