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A thank you and a welcome – Civil Service Diversity

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Civil Service Diversity & Equality Awards 2013 Sir Paul Jenkins and Siobhan Benita co-host the Civil Service Diversity & Equality Awards.
Sir Paul Jenkins and Siobhan Benita co-host the 2013 Civil Service Diversity and Equality Awards.

Last week we bid farewell to a long standing and respected member of our senior leadership team. Sir Paul Jenkins was a civil servant for 38 years and Treasury Solicitor for 8 of those.

As well as serving our legal teams in the Civil Service for over three decades, Paul was deeply committed to developing a more diverse workforce across the Civil Service. For the last 6 years he has been the Permanent Secretary Diversity Champion, and has worked tirelessly to support staff in every department, grade and location throughout the organisation.

A strong legacy

His hard work has paid off. 10 departments and agencies are now featured in the Stonewall Top 100 index of gay-friendly workplaces. Nearly one in ten civil servants are from an ethnic minority. Over half of civil servants are women. And the proportion of disabled civil servants is at a record high. Every year we hold the excellent Diversity and Equality Awards and it is getting harder and harder for the judging panel to whittle down the nominations and choose the winners because of the tremendous work being delivered to enhance diversity and equality across the organisation.

Paul leaves a strong legacy, only some of which we can demonstrate using statistics. Much harder to illustrate, but equally as important, are the countless members of staff who have been inspired by Paul’s work in this area, who have grown in confidence because of him and who are realising more of their potential as a result.

A new champion for diversity

But Paul was clear that there is more to do on diversity and the work needs to continue after his departure. I am therefore delighted that Sir Simon Fraser, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will replace Paul as Diversity Champion.

Sir Simon Fraser, Permanent Under Secretary for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Head of the Diplomatic Service with Martin Donnelly, Permanent Secretary for the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills at the Science & Innovation Conference in London, 11 December 2013.
Sir Simon Fraser, Permanent Under Secretary for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Head of the Diplomatic Service with Martin Donnelly, Permanent Secretary for the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills at the Science & Innovation Conference in London, 11 December 2013.

Simon has led the FCO since 2010, before this he was Permanent Secretary at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. He brings not only experience but enthusiasm to this role and I am really looking forward to working with him. He has led innovative initiatives on diversity and equalities in the FCO, including increasing the number of female Ambassadors and a recent high profile campaign to promote BME recruitment.

Over the coming months, Simon will support me in delivering a new Diversity Strategy for the Civil Service, and ensuring that all staff are supported to reach their full potential in the Civil Service, enriching the organisation.
I hope you will join me in thanking Sir Paul, and welcoming Sir Simon into the role.

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Related content:

Blog post Celebrating diversity in the Civil Service

Blog post Opportunities for all – a diverse Civil Service

Blog post Achieving diversity- 2013 Rainbow Lecture, House of Commons

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  1. Comment by Geoff Bateson posted on

    Progression issues are as important as recruitment issues. It was right for many organisations to move from 'time-based' service promotions to having professional testing as a way of moving on - but there may be some staff with difficulties in succeeding at time-based testing because of (often somewhat hidden) disabilities.. Where staff's abilities are not being built on because they are held in place by the testing system's inappropriateness for them it should be possible for them to move up a band based on sufficiently-long service that has been valued (eg through consistent positive appraisals over a 2-3 year period; plus a demonstration that they have been applying some of the core competencies of the next band level within their current wok. This would be a 'positive adaptation' in terms of allowing particular disabled people to progress within the service and allow their talents to be used and strengthened.

  2. Comment by Quinton posted on

    I think there is a general view that extra time is cheating or chancing it.

    I had a contract for job in scotish government i got through "postive discrimination" application in 2003. I had extra time gurateeded interview.

    I had employement contract, pension pack sent to 3 jobs to start.

    However after being refused to start in 3 jobs they claimed i had been sent by contract in error.

    No appeals etc or nothing.

    The problem with civil service at the end of the day is that dont obey law, there is culture that law does not apply.

    No matter what schemes or gimics or things come up with, its just willingness not to obey law sure there is always some excuse or claim or greater good or whatever, that marks out say the UK civil service from the EU civil service.

  3. Comment by Dan White posted on

    Quinton - I'm sorry that you feel you had a bad experience, but the fact is that you're talking about something that happened eleven years ago now. The point of this article is to show how far the Civil Service has progressed in the six years since Sir Paul Jenkins took over as Permanent Secretary Diversity Champion, so he can hardly be blamed for something which happened five years earlier!

  4. Comment by No bowler hat posted on

    This article looks at the upside. This does not mean there is no longer any discrimination, it could in theory be that there is more of a postive element yes, but the negative could be the same less or greater.

    Under Sir Paul Jenkins the system is less robust than it was 11 years ago.

    As unlike the american civil service or german if someone feels they are discriminated against the legal remedy costs £1200 pounds.

    I know this is change to the law, but even if counrties where the legal system offers no free remedy the civil service can.

    In united states there is a different system for civil service.

    So Sir Paul Jenkins has has sat on this change and put nothing in place. No remedy to replace the universial one.

    So Sir Paul Jenkins on his watch has seen free system to one that is probitivly expensive for applicants.

    This does not demonstrate a commitment to diversity.