Whitehall signs up to avoid all-male tech shortlists

Written by Sam Trendall on 1 February 2018 in News

All government departments will sign the Tech Talent Charter, including a pledge to submit anonymised diversity data

All signatories to the Tech Talent Charter will provide anonymised employee diversity data. Credit: Adobe Stock

The whole of government has signed up to the Tech Talent Charter, meaning that Whitehall departments will need to include women on interview shortlists wherever possible and provide anonymised employee diversity data.

The minister for digital, Margot James, will also be writing to major tech firms encouraging them to sign up to charter, which aims to redress the gender imbalance in the digital workforce.

The charter lays out five pledges to which signatory firms must commit, the first being to have a named, senior representative who will champion the charter and work to ensure adherence.

The second commitment is to implement recruitment processes that encourage a diverse range of applicants to roles. This means having at least one woman on interview shortlists “wherever possible”, the charter says.


The third pledge is to put in place employment and HR practices that “support the development and retention of an inclusive and diverse workforce”, while the fourth is to work with other signatories to create and implement practical measures to further the aims of the charter.

The final commitment is that, on condition of anonymity, signatory firms will share diversity data. This will be used to create an anonymised database that will be shared with all signatories twice a year, and published publicly in an annual report.

Representatives of more than 125 technology companies have signed the charter, including figures from HP Inc and HPE, Cisco, Deloitte, and CA Technologies. James will be writing others in the coming weeks to encourage them to follow suit.

Some prominent civil servants have also signed up, including the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s permanent secretary Sue Owen, and Government Digital Service director general Kevin Cunnington. The rest of Whitehall will follow in due course, according to culture secretary Matt Hancock.

“It is essential the public sector leads the way in driving this change and today I can announce every government department will be signing the charter,” he said. "Cracking the challenge is in part about changing the education system but it’s also about changing the culture and opening up.”

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology, where a version of this story first appeared

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