Top UK civil servant calls on departments to share ideas and create inclusive culture

By on 15/01/2016

The head of the UK civil service has called on departments to work more closely together, share ideas and up their efforts to create a culture “that genuinely values diversity and difference.”

Setting out his 2016 priorities in his blog, Sir Jeremy Heywood said that fostering a more joined-up working culture “can help us meet the challenges” caused by shrinking resources set out in the government’s five-year financial strategy published in November 2015.

He said he wants departments to work “in a more unified way on delivering services and creating policy”, to share ideas more, and get “better at replicating our best technology across government.”

Heywood also said that the wants “to see a renewed effort on creating a culture, right across the civil service, that genuinely values diversity and difference, that welcomes new thinking and challenge and makes everyone feel included and able to give their best.”

He added: “I want to be sure that we are recruiting and promoting people in a fair and transparent way; that we do everything we can to eliminate bullying and discrimination; and that we are seeking out and developing talented individuals wherever they work.”

Heywood also said that he will this year focus on ensuring that “every civil servant has the opportunity to make the most of their talents and the tools to do the job”, adding that the government is improving its learning and development offers to “better support to civil servants looking to improve themselves.”

Heywood’s priorities for this year are reflected in his permanent secretaries’ objectives which are published every year.

They state that he should “achieve progress on key performance measures for diversity and inclusion”; “improve the diversity of the civil service corporate talent pipeline”; “hold permanent secretaries to account for effectively delivering their departmental diversity and inclusion plans”; and “be an exemplar leader on diversity as head of the civil service.”

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World – the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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