What has been your highlight of the last 12 months?
The government socio-economic diversity network celebrated its seventh anniversary this year and we've reflected on how much our civil servants have got out of the network and the space it provides to discuss and solutionise about how to make the civil service more reflective of the UK. From the change to hybrid working during the pandemic – with the challenges that brings to people who don't have the luxury of space and quiet to work in, through to the current cost-of-living crisis, where we've seen some of our colleagues needing to access foodbanks – there is a clear need for a group within our organisation to think about what the civil service is doing to help staff from a low socio-economic background to flourish at work.
What is the biggest challenge facing your organisation in 2023, and how are you preparing to meet it as an organisation?
"We've seen some of our colleagues needing to access foodbanks – there is a clear need for a group to think about what the civil service is doing to help staff from a low socio-economic background to flourish at work"
Our biggest challenge is to work out where a staff network can make a difference, pinpoint it and put all our energies into doing something about it. Our network exists to make the civil service better and more attractive to working class people so we get a mix of people into the civil service. So this year's work will be all about challenging the barriers and biases that exist around accents, qualifications, navigating the recruitment and promotion systems effectively, and making sure good civil service jobs are located all around the UK.
It's not only Santa who has to work at Christmas. What is your best, worst or weirdest experience of working in the festive season?
Actually, after several years of Brexit negotiations, potential "no deal" scenarios and then the end of the transition period – all of which required festive working – this year might be the first year in some time where civil servants have been able to take a proper festive break!