New Civil Service Diversity & Inclusion Strategy: The road to better outcomes

Mon 28 Feb 2022

New Civil Service Diversity & Inclusion Strategy: The road to better outcomes

What training and development can do to help public sector organisations meet their D&I goals by 2025

By Murielle Gonzalez

A new Diversity & Inclusion Strategy for the Civil Service has been released with specific objectives to achieve in the next three years. Jason Ghaboos (pictured above), Deputy Director, Civil Service Diversity & Inclusion at Cabinet Office, said the new policy sets "a new standard for championing a diversity of backgrounds and opinions to better promote fairness and performance". Government departments must follow the strategy and use the new policy as their compass for delivering better outcomes for citizens. 

Four objectives are set out in the strategy to enable a Civil Service that "understands and draws from the communities it serves, drawing from a range of backgrounds, experiences, and locations". It also seeks greater visibility, engaging civil servants with the communities they serve and showcasing what the Civil Service offers. A third goal is to become flexible "by supporting innovation, performance, and engagement" while the fourth aim is for the Civil Service to stand ready to welcome and attract talent "from wherever it comes".

The 31 actions outlined in the policy paper speak about the data-driven and evidence-based approach built within the strategy. Also, these initiatives make it clear that progress on diversity and inclusion across the Civil Service will only be possible via constant monitoring and collaboration across government departments. These tasks cannot be taken lightly.

The D&I vision for the Civil Service by 2025 is tied up with the Declaration on Government Reform and the Levelling Up agenda, all of which put equality to the front. Having the skills and insight to leverage diversity within organisations across the public sector can mean the difference between success and failure. Training and development of staff in all aspects of diversity and inclusion is now more important than ever.

Delivering on D&I

The new D&I strategy calls on civil servants to master skills and knowledge to champion diversity and accelerate inclusion across the UK. More than 481,000 people work in the Civil Service, and the new strategy values the diversity of teams. So, how can government departments achieve this objective?

Typically, D&I initiatives originate within HR departments, with line managers often on the front line of delivery, operating as role models for organisational culture. This responsibility puts pressure on line managers, as they may or may not have the skills or knowledge to build and nurture diversity within their teams. Training them on diversity and inclusion is paramount.

D&I for Line Managers on 10 May is a CPD-certified training event designed to provide attendees with the understanding, tools and guidance needed to realise their role in supporting diversity and embedding inclusive management practices within their organisation. Over the course of the day, attendees will learn how to incorporate diversity and inclusion goals and best practices into their managerial style and everyday actions and habits.

David Pearson, Inclusive Leadership Expert and former Director of Global Inclusion & Diversity at KPMG, will be speaking at the event. His presentation 'Uncovering the foundations of diversity and inclusion' covers everything from the business case for D&I to the impact on the delivery of services to terminology and policy and legislation. 

Also speaking at D&I for Line Managers is Bernadette Thompson, Associate Director of Inclusion at Barts Health NHS Trust. She will join us with a workshop on cultivating diverse talent, covering the skills toolkit for managers.

People's behaviour and the culture of an organisation play a vital role in any initiative that seeks to foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace — and both are at the heart of the new D&I strategy for the Civil Service. Join us for D&I for Line Managers on 10 May and take part in an honest discussion about achieving culture change within organisations with Nahida Ahmed, Senior EDI Lead & RACE Programme Lead at HMRC and Emma Codd, Global Inclusion Leader at Deloitte. Register to attend.

Collaborative partnerships

The policy paper promotes collaborative partnerships as a meaningful tool to instil diversity and inclusion across the Civil Service, embedding relevant activity into the everyday delivery of public services. Staff networks, allies, and champions are crucial to making progress on this front.

Portrait photo of Cavita Chapman

Take it from Cavita Chapman (pictured), head of EDI for the Southeast Regional team at NHS England. In conversation with Dods D&I, she explained the mindset required for an effective EDI approach and how staff networks can help address equality, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace. "A culture of equality starts at the top with leadership," she said.

Equality is a goal within the new D&I strategy. The policy paper states: "We must draw on the talents of a workforce with a diverse range of experience, skills and backgrounds; providing an equality of opportunity for all our people and to embed challenge in everything we do and deliver better outcomes for all citizens."

The statement is a call to understand the intersectionality of the protected characteristics — age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation — and its role in achieving a culture of inclusion in the workplace. Join us for Supporting LGBT+ Colleagues at Work on 19 April to hear Laks Mann, Mayor of London EDI Advisor and LGBTQ+ Lead, reflect on this topic. Register to attend.

Leadership — or a lack of it — is also a skill that often comes up in discussions about championing diversity and fostering a culture of inclusion at work. Again, this is an area where the Civil Service can benefit from the training and development of its staff as it moves to improve gender and race diversity at the higher ranks of the Senior Civil Service.

Portrait of Sal Naseem

"My leadership journey has been one with glass ceilings. I couldn't just be as good as everybody else. I had to smash it," said Sal Naseem (pictured), IOPC's Regional Director for London, in conversation with Dods Diversity & Inclusion ahead of BAME into Leadership Birmingham on 24 March.

Glass ceilings and self-imposed barriers are some of the challenges keeping women and people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups away from leadership positions within the Civil Service. However, our conferences Women into Leadership and Unlocking the Senior Civil Service are unique platforms for personal coaching and networking for those wishing to develop their careers further.

The momentum for greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace is building, and Dods Diversity & Inclusion stands ready to support your organisation's training and development efforts.

Upcoming events

Visit our website for the full list of upcoming events.



Murielle Gonzalez, content strategy manager at Dods Diversity & Inclusion, is an experienced journalist and editor. She can be reached on

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