As the D&I champion for our Office, I am passionate about inspiring colleagues to feel invested in our approach to diversity and inclusion. As a group of individuals we have different perspectives and priorities. Respecting and encouraging that diversity of thought makes us stronger as a team.
The Office is committed to creating an inclusive workplace where people feel able to bring their whole selves to work. In recent years we have really focused on developing our approach to diversity and inclusion with the goal of ensuring that we have a diverse workforce which properly represents the community we serve. This goal feels particularly important given that we draft legislation with impacts across the whole of society.
As part of this work, we have a Race Strategy group to help expand our perspective of issues relating to race and D&I, promote inclusive behaviours and ensure participation by the Office in race issues in the wider legal community and civil service. In common with many other parts of the legal sector, Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups are not adequately represented in our workforce. This is something that we want to change, and one of the ways in which we are actively seeking to address this is by running a work shadow scheme to offer placements through networks which represent groups of lawyers currently underrepresented in the Office.
We have also built strong relationships with a wide range of partnership organisations to help broaden and deepen our understanding of diversity and inclusion issues. This includes working alongside organisations focused on race, disability, neurodiversity and socioeconomic disadvantage, as well as learning from other diversity and inclusion initiatives across the legal community.
We take a keen role in regular outreach events offered to students from a diverse range of backgrounds, for example hosting students as part of the 10K Black Interns initiative, running legislation exercises for students participating in the Government Legal Department Diversity Summer Scheme, and running regular career talks and training for students who attend universities which have a high level of diversity in their student population.
By showing the real benefits of securing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, people working in the Office have been motivated to come up with new ways in which we can become even more inclusive based on their own experiences and the issues which resonate with them. For example, colleagues have been instrumental in a number of cross-Cabinet Office networks, including those relating to age, gender equality and parental support, and in establishing and running a Government in Parliament group-wide neurodiversity group. A good number of us also volunteer for a wide range of mentoring initiatives.
Change is not something that happens overnight, but D&I matters to us and it is an area where as an Office we continue to learn and grow.