Civil Service Commission chief executive Peter Lawrence has detailed his vision for the expansion of an award-winning programme set up to offer public sector job opportunities to ex-offenders.
Lawrence will take over responsibility for the Going Forward into Employment programme from next month and said he wanted to broaden the programme to offer work placements to other disadvantaged groups.
The GFIE programme was launched in the north west in 2017 as a collaboration between the Cabinet Office, the Civil Service Commission, Civil Service Local, and the Ministry of Justice. It was the 2018 winner of the Civil Service Innovation Award.
Lawrence said the programme was currently providing work placements to 25 ex-offenders across seven government departments. He said expanding the range of opportunities on offer – and eligibility to take part in the scheme – was seen as part of the civil service's goal of being the UK’s most inclusive employer by 2020.
“We now want to broaden Going Forward into Employment’s reach across the UK and extend our support to other groups of citizens who face particular barriers – for example, military veterans or those leaving care – to create a civil service that is more diverse and reflective of the society it serves,” he wrote in a blog post.
Lawrence said he would be taking on the role of GFIE programme director from next month, in addition to his Civil Service Commission duties, and wanted to “accelerate and scale up” the scheme.
“Providing life-chance opportunities to a range of people through employment as civil servants is something I am passionate about,” he said.
“I am hoping other civil servants will be as keen as me to be part of making a real difference to the lives of people through Going Forward into Employment.”
Lawrence did not set out a growth expectation for the programme, but said he was looking for current civil servants to work alongside departments, prison governors, veterans’ charities and other partners to identify suitable candidates to take part.
“We have immediate secondment opportunities available in the team nationally, which just require prior approval from line managers, stating that they will commit to release you for the agreed period and that they will fully fund and sponsor your work throughout this period with the Going Forward into Employment team,” he said.
“Working as part of a virtual project team, these are great opportunities to build your capability as a civil servant, engage, learn and work across all departments while supporting one of the government's key priorities.”
Lawrence said secondments could be based anywhere, but that he expected them to last for “at least six to 12 months” to offer “maximum development and impact”.