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Facilitating dialogue across national industry on common diversity and inclusion challenges

We were delighted to co-host the 2019 Whitehall & Industry Group (www.wig.co.uk) Diversity and Inclusion Conference in London in November.

The conference brought together 250 practitioners from WIG’s 230+ member organisations and beyond, spanning the private, public and not-for-profit sectors as well as academic institutions. The focus for the day was common issues faced within three key aspects of inclusion: identity, ability and culture.

The conference began with an introduction from Anthony Kirby, Serco Group HR Director, who said: “We know that we have made huge progress when it comes to our D&I agenda, but that doesn’t mean we have lost sight of the opportunities that still remain. It is our hope that through the foundation of the Inclusion Hub, supporting our employee resource groups, leading business unit consultation and the appointment of our new Group Head of D&I, we pave the way for the longer-term cultural change that we, industry and society are striving for.”

The conference continued with 25+ widely respected experts from across Whitehall and industry presenting evidence-based sessions, providing real experiences and valuable practical information to equip attendees to make an impact in their own organisations.

Kevin Craven, Chief Executive for Serco UK & Europe, participated in a panel discussion, ‘The Business Case for D&I’. In response to the question ‘How can organisations make more inclusive decisions and why is this important?’, Kevin said: “We recognised that we hadn’t done enough to enable two-way dialogue with our employees on subjects of inclusion, so we have for the first time given our people a platform [the Inclusion Hub] to help educate and share lived experiences and to be a critical friend to the business so we can see how we can inspire lasting change.”

Other sessions included:

  • Presenting a business case for staff networks – led by Jade Fraser, Group Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Serco;
  • Empowering BAME talent – led by Graham Archer and Fiona Nzegwu, Department for Education;
  • The importance of Trans inclusion and gender identities – led by Pips Bunce, Credit Suisse;
  • Tackling the lack of representation of individuals with disabilities in senior roles - Andy Kneen, Shell;
  • Recognising the disparate wellbeing needs of a workforce spread across multiple sites – led by Martin Short, Ministry of Defence;
  • The ethnicity pay gap – led by Kerri-Ann O’Neill and Alpha Abraham, Ofcom;
  • Looking at the barriers neurodivergent individuals face in entering the workforce and how this can be addressed – led by Michael Vermeersch, Microsoft.

The afternoon sessions were chaired by Ed Jervis, Chair of In@Serco, our LGBT+ Network.