Senior Civil Servant speaks about life at DCMS as a LGBTQIA+ employee
Category: testimonial, LGBT+ Network, LGBT+, Government, Jobs in Government, Staff Networks, Staff Testimonial, LGBTQIA+, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, UK Government, Civil Service, senior, Civil Servant, senior leader, staff network group, DCMS, government policy, senior development, Civil Service Jobs, LGBT+ community, LGBT+ history, LGBTQIA+ community, LGBTQIA+ Inclusion and Equality
Back in February, during LGBTQIA+ History Month, DCMS celebrated LGBTQIA+ Hidden Histories that are often forgotten and sidelined in history. DCMS’s staff network, the LGBT+ network, hosted a series of events to educate the department on LGBTQIA+ history, you can find out more detail on what it entailed here.
As a follow up to LGBTQIA+ History Month, we spoke with Robert, about their role as Senior Civil Service (SCS) Champion of the LGBT+ network, the supportive environment that DCMS creates for LGBTQIA+ colleagues and some of the areas of improvements which DCMS are tackling.
Tell us about your role as SCS Champion of the LGBT+ Network?
My role is to support, challenge and represent. I help unblock barriers and connect the network with senior individuals in the department, when there are situations that need senior support. I challenge the LGBT+ network largely through its Chair so that they are clear on their priorities and that they are making progress on meeting their objectives. I also represent our network through my membership on the DCMS People and Operations Committee and as a Senior LGBTQIA+ Champion within the wider Civil Service.
How do you think the LGBT+ Network effectively supports colleagues in the department?
We work hard to support colleagues, but of course there is always more that we can do. There are still cases of Abrasive Behaviour, Harassment, Bullying, Discrimination (ABHD) but we always offer support to colleagues who experience this. We have a clear set of priorities and the Chair of our network is a very effective leader. DCMS staff have awareness of LGBT+ network and know that they can lean on it for support should they require it. DCMS also has the highest declaration of LGBTQIA+ colleagues comparatively to other Civil Service networks. The experience of LGBTQIA+ employees at DCMS is positive, with 80% of LGBTQIA+ colleagues recommending DCMS as a great place to work, but our role is to ensure that DCMS continues to be a welcoming and supportive environment for LGBTQIA+ colleagues and that we remain focused on breaking down the barriers and challenges that exist.
Why do you think it's important to highlight the stories, experiences and careers of LGBTQIA+ people in DCMS?
It is important because discrimination still exists. People need role models who show how it is okay to be yourself and express yourself. I think it is particularly important in relation to intersectionality, which is a priority focus in the network, as it may be more difficult for some members of the LGBTQIA+ community than others to bring their whole self to work.
What do you want LGBTQIA+ candidates to know when they are applying to DCMS?
We are a representative department with LGBTQIA+ colleagues at all levels of seniority making up around 12% of our workforce, compared to the Civil Service average of 6%. We have a committed network who are focused on addressing where progress needs to be made. DCMS is a LGBTQIA+ friendly department that works with a breadth of sectors where there is also fantastic LGBTQIA+ representation.
What did you want colleagues to take away from February's LGBTQIA+ History Month at DCMS?
Two things: Compared to people's experiences in the past, there is significant improvement, but that does not mean we can become complacent. There are still challenges that need to be addressed. In the past people have been courageous and bold enough to take action, which we can draw inspiration from whether you’re a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, or an ally.
I also want colleagues to appreciate the contribution that LGBTQIA+ people have made in history and society. It serves as a reminder of the progress we have made in the LGBTQIA+ community, which we can use as a spur to continue the necessary work.
Are you interested in joining DCMS? See what opportunities are available here.
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