The Home Office is at the front line of the government’s duty to keep the country and its citizens safe. It is vital for the Home Office to harness the talents of over 27,000 staff and draw from a rich diversity of views and opinions.
A report highlighting specific challenges revealed that talent processes were not sufficiently ambitious; bias and discrimination was responsible for blocking the progression of some employees with protected characteristics; and diverse role models in leadership were lacking.
"Helping the department become more inclusive and representative of the communities it serves"
The Civil Service Talent Action Plan provides a framework for ensuring a talented and diverse Civil Service, and the “Access” Career Development Programme was developed within this to identify and develop high potential BAME employees and to help these participants achieve career progression.
The NETWORK, the Home Office race equality staff support group, worked in partnership with the Home Office’s Diversity and Inclusion Team to draw on research, focus group outcomes and best practice to design a programme that would address the specific barriers to progression.
"Harnessing the talents of staff to draw from a rich diversity of views and opinions"
There have been many tangible benefits; of the first 20 alumni, 65% have been promoted and in May 2017, BAME staff at “senior civil servant” levels had already risen by over 5%; this is a significant achievement and a ministerial goal. The programme has now evolved with a focus on inclusive leadership and learning through diversity.
Two more cohorts with a further 60 members of staff are currently undertaking world class personal and career development activities through a powerful blend of speaker sessions, mentoring networking and action learning. As a result, 50% of staff have already experienced increased confidence and are beginning to move into senior leadership roles. “Access” is helping the department to become more inclusive and representative of the communities it serves at all levels.