‘Whatever the issue, we are there to help’: Civil Service Race Forum offers support for the year ahead

2020 may have been a year like no other, but 2021 was a chip off the old block and relentless from day one. Civil Service Race Forum co-chairs Sharon Lo and Justin Placide tell us about 12 more months of dealing with Covid while pushing ahead with new challenges
Sharon Lo and Justin Placide

By Civil Service World

23 Dec 2021


What was your highlight of 2021?

The Civil Service Race Forum has worked to help improve the dialogue on race, ethnicity, equality, diversity and inclusion within the civil service. CSRF has advised and supported civil service race network leaders across government on how best to support their members. We have built a trusting relationship with our civil service faith, belief and race champion and have supported him on addressing wider race inequalities within the civil service. 

Our highlight moment in 2021 has been creating, hosting and collaborating with other networks across the civil service to promote excellent virtual events to support our hybrid working colleagues across the civil service. Events have ranged from celebrating International Women’s and Men’s Day, National Inclusion Week, National Adoption Week, South Asian Heritage Month, Black History Month, Remembrance Day and observing religious holidays and festivals. We have also had high-profile speakers from within and outside the civil service, sharing their knowledge and insights.

CSRF has also focused on cultivating an online community of colleagues across the civil service, enabling them to access events, support and resources outside their own departments. 

How did you tackle the biggest challenges facing members of your network in 2021?

Civil servants work hard and for those who also have a demanding corporate contribution role this can sometimes affect their health. We have ensured we remain supportive to our members and colleagues regarding spotting the warning signs of fatigue and stress.

Whatever the issue, we are there to help, whether through hosting safe space sessions, signposting the civil service employee assistance programme or introducing them to mental health first-aiders. 

What is your number one priority for 2022?

Our number one priority for 2022 will be focusing on strengthening network leaders’ capability. We will do this by:
Helping staff network leaders to develop the skills needed to run an effective, sustainable network
Understanding the network value proposition and spectrum of impact
Promoting strategic planning, leaderships skills and development
Sharing tips, tools, and techniques to start/grow staff networks
Encouraging people planning, and staff and stakeholder engagement skills

Which historical, mythical or contemporary figure would you most like to join you for a New Year’s Eve celebration?

We would like Michel de Nostredame, aka Nostradamus, to join us for our New Year’s Eve celebration. Nostradamus was known for prophesying pivotal events and we would ask him what to expect in 2022. 


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