Civil Service boss Sir Jeremy Heywood announces new Diversity Champion appointments

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Sir Jeremy Heywood has this week announced new appointments to diversity and inclusion roles at the Civil Service.

Writing in a blog post this week, Sir Jeremy said Sue Owen, the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), takes on the role of Civil Service Diversity Champion in August.

Ms Owen takes on the role after Simon Fraser steps down as Permanent Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at the end of July.

Commenting on her new appointment, Ms Owen said: “Over the past year I have seen the passion and dedication that civil servants all over the country demonstrate when it comes to celebrating diversity and inclusion. On Saturday, for the second year running, I joined our Civil Service Rainbow Alliance colleagues marching at London Pride. Such events show how far we have come, but also remind us that we must continue to defend the right for all individuals to thrive and succeed, no matter their background or identity.

“I’m thrilled to be taking on this role at such an important time in the Civil Service’s journey. Under Simon’s stewardship we are clearer than ever on the barriers facing our colleagues from under-represented groups, and on what needs to be done to remove them. I look forward to working closely with my fellow permanent secretary champions to ensure that those actions become reality for civil servants all over the country.”

Sir Jeremy thanked Mr Fraser for his service, including a “renwed focus on diversity and inclusion” in the Civil Service. He also said Ms Owen had been “a powerful advocate for LGBT colleagues.”

The Civil Service in March published the ‘Priority Actions on Social Mobility’, which showed a need for more to be done on a number of issues.

In addition, the announcement of Jon Thompson, a Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence was appointed to the role of Civil Service Social Mobility Champion.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Thompson said: “Ensuring that the Civil Service is attracting, developing and retaining the most talented individuals has never been more important. We know that the most successful teams are those that represent diversity of thought, experience and background. We know that we have more to do on social mobility, and that we don’t yet have all the answers.

“The research we are commissioning will give us strong insights into the barriers faced by those looking to join the Civil Service from lower socio-economic backgrounds. I am excited about driving this work forward. Social mobility is something that is close to my heart – I went to a comprehensive school, took an apprenticeship at 18 and find myself now as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence.

“I am passionate about encouraging individuals from all backgrounds to aim high and achieve their potential too, and in doing so to help the Civil Service become a truly socially inclusive employer.”