The third Civil Service Equality and Diversity awards celebrated individuals and teams who have shown outstanding achievement in promoting equality and diversity in the Civil Service and the delivery of public services.
The winners include a project to improve access for the elderly and people disabilities at a railway station, work to prevent British citizens being forced into marriage in Pakistan, a team to support refugees and an inspirational staff member of Jobcentre Plus who has gone the extra mile to help the homeless in her community.
Sir Gus ODonnell, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, who presented the awards, said:
I am proud to lead a Civil Service that is delivering on equality and diversity and changing to meet the evolving needs of the society we serve. Your stories and successes shows how civil servants go out of their way to reach the most vulnerable, improve opportunities and raise aspirations.
In times of economic downturn our work delivering important public services to all parts of our society becomes even more critical. A diverse workforce that fully reflects our diverse society is essential if we are to meet the challenges of the future; not least because we need the innovation in thinking and delivery that diversity brings to enable us to do more with less.
I want the Civil Service to embrace a full range of perspectives, backgrounds, experiences and skills – that is the best chance we have of understanding the people we serve. We should set an example to other employers in the way we value our people, invest in their development and create a culture that is inclusive and welcoming to all.
The awards come as new figures show the Senior Civil Service (SCS) is more diverse than ever. The proportion of women at senior levels has doubled since 1996 and is now around 34%, compared to just 11.7% in FTSE 100 companies. There has also been an increase in the number of staff from black minority ethnic backgrounds and disabled people.
Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality, said:
I am delighted to be here to congratulate all those individuals and teams who have demonstrated such excellence in equality and diversity.
I am impressed by the range of ways civil servants have made a difference, from improving access at a local railway station for older people, disabled people and parents with pushchairs, to a hostel helping the homeless back into work, and a groundbreaking initiative to increase the number of prosecutions of violent crimes against women.
Your innovation and hard work are important and show how the Civil Service brings about real change to peoples lives and is helping some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in our society.
Bill Jeffrey, Civil Service Diversity Champion and Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, said:
Weve made good progress on improving the diversity of the Civil Service, including at senior levels. But I know we need to do more and part of my role as Diversity Champion is to drive these changes forward.
The six winners will go forward to the Civil Service Awards in November, where the winner of the Cabinet Secretarys award for outstanding achievement will be announced
Notes to editors
1. Details of the winners are below. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANISATIONS CONCERNED WILL NOT FIND OUT THAT THEY HAVE WON UNTIL THE AWARDS CEREMONY THIS EVENING. Please do not contact them until after 21:00 on Tuesday 27 October. Further enquiries about each winner should be directed to the press office of their home department. Enquiries about the awards themselves should go to the Cabinet Office press office.
The Delivery of Customer Service Award
Harrington Hump Project, Department for Transport, Cumbria
The scheme is part of the Community Rail Development strategy to improve rural railways. It improved facilities at a station to enable better access for the elderly, people in wheelchairs and parents with young children.
The Engagement and Involvement Award
Diverse Recruitment, Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, Leeds
The team increased the number of staff from a black minority ethnic background in their workforce by targeting the local community.
The Innovation Award
Islamabad (Consular Assistance Unit), Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The unit works in rural Pakistan helping to prevent British men and women from being forced into marriage. Each year the team prevents over 100 forced marriages and repatriates more than 50 British nationals of Pakistani origin back to safety in the UK.
The Improvement Award
Glasgow District Move On Team, Department for Work and Pensions
Jobcentre Plus developed a new approach to supporting refugees in the city to help them find work.
The Inspiration Award
Antonina Robinson, Jobcentre Plus, Birmingham < Solihull district office
Antonina is a homelessness liaison officer who holds weekly surgeries that help
customers access healthcare, benefits and housing. She also runs a football club for the young people in the local Somali community.
The Leadership Award
Danny Wilhare and the Interview Office Network Project Development Group
Identity and Passport Service
Danny helped to implement a solution for people who would struggle to attend a face-to-face interview by setting up webcam interviews.
2. The winner of the Cabinet Secretarys Award will be announced at the Civil Service Awards on 17 November
3. Photographs of all winners will be available from the Cabinet Office press office from Wednesday 28 October.
4. The Civil Service Diversity and Equality awards were sponsored by Civil Service World
5. Latest diversity figures for the Senior Civil Service (SCS) can be found on the Civil Service website: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/who/diversity/monitoring.aspx
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