Nominations have today opened for the 2020 Civil Service Diversity & Inclusion Awards – with four new awards being celebrated this year.
Officials have been invited to nominate the people and teams they feel have made the civil service a more inclusive place to work.
Launching the awards in a blog post this morning, civil service operating officer Alex Chisholm – who was last month named as Whitehall’s diversity and inclusion champion – said he hoped they would be an “even more noteworthy event” than usual.
As well as taking place during the civil service’s Year of Inclusion, the awards, which are supported by Kantar and Microlink, will also provide more opportunities to recognise people’s work than previously, thanks to the addition of four new categories.
The 12 categories will this year include a Brilliant Team Contribution Award, an Impact on the Citizen Award, an Unsung Hero Award and an Advancing Age and/or Carers Inclusion Award.
Nominations – which can go to people of any grade of any team – will close on 6 August, with an awards ceremony planned for 4 December, Covid-19 social-distancing guidelines allowing. The event will also be livestreamed.
Chisholm was named the overall D&I champion – heading up the team of permanent secretaries each advocating for different marginalised groups – last month in a message to civil servants from cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill.
Sedwill said Chisholm’s leadership, as well as a greater use of shadow boards, would help to “accelerate the pace of change” towards a more diverse and inclusive civil service.
The cab sec said addressing discrimination and inequality was a “question of leadership”, as "persistent and painful inequalities” became apparent in the disproportionate rates of infection and death from Covid-19 among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, and in the killing of George Floyd that ignited Black Lives Matter protests around the world.
Chisholm marked out diversity and inclusion as one of his priorities for his role early on. He told CSW in May: “I take my responsibilities as the new COO of the civil service very seriously: that it is a change agenda, not a ‘carry on as we are’ agenda.”
In today’s blog post, Chisholm wrote that he had seen “some great examples of teams and networks pulling together to make our workplaces more inclusive” since becoming D&I champion.
“The conversations that have been amplified by the Black Lives Matter movement point out how much further we have to go, and I am personally committed to driving much faster progress.
“But even within that context, I want us to be able to celebrate the high points that are already there. I want us to be able to recognise the people who are going that bit further to increase the diversity of their teams, to support and sponsor others, to tackle any barriers in the way of others feeling fully included – and who are making the civil service a better place to work as a result.
“We are a civil service that is committed to delivering the best outcomes we can for citizens, and the way we will do that is by being both diverse and inclusive. I hope that you will find people and projects to nominate, and that you will join us for the awards in December to recognise and celebrate their success.”