The Cabinet Office is preparing a new service for matching civil servants interesting in mentoring or being mentored, it is understood.
Earlier this week, the Cabinet Office published online official privacy-notice guidance for what personal data will be gathered by the “civil service mentor service” and how it will be processed by the civil service HR function housed within the department.
The notice outlines that users of the service will provide data on their name, address, department, job role and grade. They will also submit details of their areas of expertise or interest, any previous experience of mentoring, and geographic regions to which they would be willing to travel.
The service will then “compare and match individuals who apply to become mentors and mentees”, according to the guidance. Anonymised data on prospective mentors or mentees may be shared, but contact details will only be shared once people have been matched.
Details of how the matching service will work in practice – such as the extent to which it will be manual or automated – are thin on the ground, and the Cabinet Office declined to comment further when asked for more information.
But an in-house government mentoring service is understood to have been in the works for some time.
Earlier this year, about 7,000 users were saddened to hear of the closure of the Mentor Match platform for helping civil servants forge mentoring relationships.
The site, which ran for two and half years, closed after hosting costs became prohibitively high for what was a registered charity – entirely run and funded by its four civil servant founders: Bryony Taylor, Alys Cook, Andrew Wilkinson and Andrew Whitten.
Before they decided to close the site, the Mentor Match team reportedly had discussions with officials to try and find an ongoing home for the service with government. The Cabinet Office ultimately declined to adopt the platform, deciding instead to proceed with the development of its own mentoring service, as part of the as part of the Learning Platform for Government programme being rolled out by Civil Service Learning.
In a statement issued to CSW's sister publication PublicTechnology in January, a Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “We plan to provide further mentoring opportunities via Civil Service Learning in the future."
The new guidance on the planned activities of the civil service mentor service – which it is understood was published in error, and may be taken down presently – suggests that an in-house service is nearly ready for launch. More details are expected to come out of the Cabinet Office in the coming weeks and months.