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New strategy to promote diversity in the civil service

New strategy to promote diversity in the civil service

CABINET OFFICE News Release (CAB084/08) issued by The Government News Network on 17 July 2008

The Government launched a new strategy today to drive forward its commitment to promote diversity and equality within its workforce.

Promoting equality, valuing diversity: a strategy for the civil service builds upon learning derived from 10-Point Plan on Delivering a Diverse Civil Service, the first Civil Service strategy aimed at improving diversity launched in 2005. Since then, the Cabinet Office has worked in partnership with government departments to develop their own action plans and in particular to strengthen accountability for diversity at leadership level.

The new strategy will continue to support this ongoing work and in addition will embed diversity deeper across all levels of the Civil Service, linking diversity to every aspect of Civil Service business. The Civil Service is committed to improving the delivery of public services for everyone in society and the strategy is launched in recognition that to do this we need the richest possible mix of talent and a workforce that is truly reflective of the public we serve.

In light of these aims, the new strategy will focus on:

* Culture change and behaviours - creating a fully inclusive culture and effectively measuring progress.

* Leadership and accountability - including continuing to hold Permanent Secretaries to account for their department's performance on diversity.

* Talent management - recruiting and progressing the most talented people from all different backgrounds.

* A diverse workforce at all levels - setting out our aspirations for representation in the longer term through service-wide targets and departmental targets that widen the focus beyond only the Senior Civil Service.

Launching the new strategy Sir Gus O'Donnell, Head of the Civil Service said:

"I am delighted to announce the launch of Promoting equality, valuing diversity, a vital initiative for the future of the Civil Service. We have made significant progress in this field and our workforce is now more diverse than ever but we must not be complacent.

"I want the Civil Service to lead the way, among employers, in the way we value our people, invest in their development and create an inclusive culture. A diverse Civil Service which reflects the society we serve will enable us to deliver better public services. "

The strategy will be driven forward across the Civil Service with the help of the Diversity Champions' Network - bringing together board level diversity champions to support action plans within departments. Sir Bill Jeffrey, the Civil Service Diversity Champion and Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence welcomed the new strategy and said:

"Promoting equality, valuing diversity broadens important work begun at departmental level through the 10-Point Plan. We know that we need to work together - and to learn from best practice inside and outside the public sector - to turn our commitments on diversity into actions that make a real difference to all staff in the Civil Service."

Minister for the Civil Service Tom Watson MP said:

"We have long recognised that there is no such thing as a typical citizen. The Civil Service needs to be reflective of the diverse communities it serves and to become better at developing and delivering policies that include everyone in society. This new strategy is challenging and I look forward to seeing the results from the implementation of the plan across all departments."

Notes to editors:

1. The 10 Point Plan was launched by the Cabinet Office in November 2005. It focussed on supporting the delivery of the 2008 targets for diversity in the Senior Civil Service (SCS) included in the Cabinet Office's SR04 PSA target. The plan committed to 10 key points to accelerate progress towards increased visible diversity in the Civil Service at all levels.

2. Promoting equality, valuing diversity: a strategy for the civil service builds on what has already been achieved, and focuses on the drive to mainstream equality and diversity into every aspect of the Civil Service's business. It is also a framework of commitments that will help the Civil Service prepare to fulfil its duties under the Government's new 'Framework for a Fairer Future - the Equality Bill' which for the first time includes age, sexual orientation and religion and belief.

3. The new strategy can be found on the Civil Service website at

4. The Diversity Champions' Network, lead by Bill Jeffrey (Permanent Secretary, MoD) brings together board level diversity champions to advise, inform and support efforts to improve its diversity both within and across departments.

5. The Diversity Champions' Network is complemented by the Diversity Practitioners' Network, composed of the heads of diversity in each department.

Cabinet Office Press Office 22 Whitehall LONDON SW1A 2WH