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An education for all: the GCHQ design team hosts EDI sessions

Blog posted by: Nathan, GCHQ, 10 April 2024.

Almost a year ago, we launched the Government Communication Service (GCS) Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. The plan had two clear goals: to build a diverse, inclusive GCS where everyone can reach their potential, and to ensure that the GCS understands and communicates effectively with every community it serves.

Today the design team at GCHQ shares how they have implemented the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan within their team.

Just after the EDI action plan was launched, I organised a team discussion about how we wanted to work EDI goals into our team objectives. After looking at the action plan, we decided that we wanted to be open and honest about EDI subjects that we didn’t know much about, taking positive action to educate ourselves. We knew that educating ourselves would benefit the way that we work together and produce multimedia designs.

We decided to highlight subjects which we personally felt we could benefit from learning more about. Through monthly ‘EDI Sessions’, each individual in our team chose a subject, researched about it through books, articles, videos and podcasts, and delivered a mini-presentation to the wider team, sharing the best material they had found.

After the presentation, we discussed the topic as a group, considering how we might change our ways of working to be more inclusive, and how we might make our communications more impactful as a result of what we had learnt.

So far we have ran sessions on Dyslexia, Autism, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), gender, social mobility and British Sign Language (BSL), which led to us producing our first BSL video!

Colourful smiley faces on a green background. Text reads: The EDI Sessions.

The enthusiasm for our EDI sessions has just been amazing. We ran a survey and 100% of the team said that they had learned from every session they had joined. Because we are more aware of what our audiences experience, we can produce design work that is accessible to more people.

Through the sessions we’ve also made better contacts (as we sought expert insight for the sessions), which has led to more collaboration opportunities in our new design work. For example, we have invited those we met to input on user personas to assess the effectiveness of our designs.

As a result of our sessions, EDI is now just a part of how we work day-to-day.

I’m so proud of the team for all they’ve achieved, and how they’ve embraced broadening their understanding of our audiences.

  • Image credit:
  • GCHQ design team (1)

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