FDA union teams up with cross-Government race networks to invest in BME leaders

26 October 2016
(For immediate release)

The FDA is pleased to announce a partnership with new senior cross-Government race networks, helping to address the continuing under-representation of BME leaders at senior levels within the civil service.

The partnership - with Race to the Top Networks for those at grades 6, 7 and the Senior Civil Service (SCS) - will initially focus on providing leadership development opportunities for BME colleagues in the SCS feeder grades, helping them to prepare for leadership at the next level.

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said: "With BME representation in the Senior Civil Service remaining persistently low at around 4%, despite clear improvements in other areas of diversity, it is time for a stronger, more concerted focus on this issue.

"There is a need for new and integrated approaches to drive change. Linking the FDA's equality initiatives with that of the network will strengthen and help create new opportunities for BME leaders to gain deeper insights and demystify leadership at the next level."

Anita Bhalla, Co- Chair of the grade 6 and 7 Race to the Top Network, said: "I am delighted that we will now be working closely with the FDA union with the joint aim of seeing greater ethnic diversity in the SCS. There is plenty of BME talent in the civil service and no clear reason why under-representation should remain at the current levels."

Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union for the UK's senior public servants and professionals at grade HEO and above. FDA membership includes more than 18,000 senior civil servants, diplomats, Government policy advisors, prosecutors, tax professionals, economists, solicitors and other professionals working across Government and the NHS.

2. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

3. The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union and at www.fda.org.uk.

4. The FDA/Race to the Top Network partnership aims to offer regular leadership development programmes in addition to other areas of support and is launching a cross-government SCS Shadowing Programme for BME G6/7s.
The scheme gives opportunities for BME G6/7s to flexibly shadow an SCS colleague in their own or another department for two to three days during the first three months of 2017.
Matching will be arranged in line with departmental, professional and regional preferences where possible.

5. For further information contact:

  • Zohra Francis, FDA Equality Officer, tel: 020 7401 5555.
  • Kay Hender, Communications Manager, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07980 700747.