New UK charity aims to boost innovation and diversity

By on 03/12/2018 | Updated on 24/09/2020
Former UK civil service head Sir Jeremy Heywood who passed away on 4th November 2018.

The wife of former UK civil service head Sir Jeremy Heywood, who died last month, has helped set up a charity in his name to promote diversity and innovative thinking across the civil service and the wider public sector.

Heywood passed away from lung cancer on 4 November, at the age of 56. Now Suzanne Heywood – who became Lady Heywood when the cabinet secretary was made a peer shortly before his death – has worked with his former colleagues to launch the Heywood Foundation. Documents lodged with the Charity Commission explain that it will work for “the promotion of diversity by the advancement of equality of opportunity amongst people with different protected characteristics” within the civil service, along with “the promotion of innovation”.

A crowd-funding page has been created to raise funds for the charity, with pledges of up to £5,000 already received. The foundation intends to make grants to individuals and organisations; provide advocacy and advice; and to sponsor or undertake research.

Continuing his mission

Along with Lady Suzanne, trustees of the charity include Sir Jeremy’s brother Simon; Sue Owen, the government’s diversity and inclusion champion; chief executive of the Behavioural Insights Team David Halpern; Helen McNamara, director general for propriety and ethics in the Cabinet Office; and deputy director of race disparity audit at the Cabinet Office, Zamila Bunglawala.

A statement from the trustees says: “The Heywood Foundation supports charitable causes which were important to Jeremy Heywood, the former Cabinet Secretary and Lord Heywood of Whitehall.” The former cabinet secretary took a keen interest in diversity issues, and was well known for taking an innovative approach to policy problems.

Heywood’s funeral took place in Westminster Abbey on 23 November, and was attended by prime minister Theresa May and two of her predecessors. After his death, former ministers from across the political spectrum paid tribute to Sir Jeremy’s contribution to public life.

Missed by many

“Brilliant, unorthodox, creative and unbelievably hard-working,” tweeted former chancellor George Osborne. “Ingenious, unflinching, human,” commented former foreign secretary David Miliband. “A public servant in the very finest tradition of Whitehall,” said Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister in the 2010-15 coalition – adding: “He served the two sides of the Coalition with great loyalty and objectivity, which was not always easy.”

Last year, Heywood launched the government’s Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, aimed at boosting the number of ethnic minority staff in its most senior grades. The document also commits the government to increasing the number of disabled staff in top posts, and to tracking progress by monitoring the flow of both groups into the senior civil service.

Writing in a blog post at the time, he said: “Improving diversity and inclusion is one of my top priorities as head of the civil service.”

Last week, Global Government Forum published a full obituary of Lord Heywood.

About Colin Marrs

Colin is a journalist and editor with long experience in the government and built environment sectors. He cut his teeth in local newspaper journalism before moving to Inside Housing in 1999. He has worked in a variety of roles for built environment titles including Planning, Regeneration & Renewal and Property Week. After a spell at advertising industry bible Campaign magazine, he became a freelancer in 2010. Since then he has edited, local government finance publication and contributed news and features to Civil Service World, Architects’ Journal, Social Housing, management titles and written white papers for major corporate and public sector clients.

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