Disability & Senior Civil Service Recruitment Online Event

The online event on Wednesday 7th October was aimed specifically at candidates for Senior Civil Service roles who have a disability. The event was chaired by the Chief Executive of the Civil Service Commission, Peter Lawrence OBE, alongside two independent Civil Service Commissioners, Jan Cameron and June Milligan and the Commission Disability Advisor, John Knight CBE.

The Civil Service Commission regulates recruitment into the Civil Service to make sure it is fair, open and merit-based. Commissioners personally chair recruitment competitions for senior roles.

The speakers covered a range of topics of relevance to candidates for senior roles who have a disability:

  • Overview of the senior recruitment process
  • What Commissioners are looking for
  • Disability Confident Scheme
  • Reasonable Adjustments
  • Q&As throughout via Slido

The full recording of the event can be found through the link below:

In addition, there were a number of unanswered questions on Slido that we did not have time to address during the event. The questions and answers can be found below:

1. Do you have people sponsors that can help those in the lower grades to get up the ladder and to get into senior leadership roles, especially those from a BAME background as I find there are very few BAME senior civil servants?

This is not something the Commission can advise on although John Knight mentioned the help that mentors can bring. Diversity Networks can often put you in touch with mentors, and not all mentors need to have a protected characteristic. Many will give you help and advice.

2. In my department recruitment boards have to be gender mixed to be diverse through male/female. Why can’t diversity be shown in a different way?

This is a matter for individual departments to consider. The Commission would encourage all organisations to consider diversity in its recruitment boards or panels, and this is slowly becoming standard practice. It is often a challenge to find diverse representatives at the right grade. Some departments are ensuring panels are diverse by having members from lower grades, which also provides a learning experience FOR the individual on the panel.

3. The national statistics show that 16% of adults at working age have a disability - what is being done to bring the CS up from 6% to be representative?

As Peter Lawrence mentioned the Commission is ideally placed to influence and encourage diversity in the senior campaigns that are chaired by the Commissioners. You should contact Civil Service organisations directly to ascertain what they are doing to improve representation in this area.

4. Do you have people with disabilities on sift and interview panels for the SCS?

The Commission always supports the use of diverse panels, but panels are usually chosen by departments and agencies. Commissioners often ask for diverse panels, and other exercises in SCS selection processes try to incorporate diversity. Staff engagement exercises often have a diverse group.

5. I have a number of reasonable adjustments in place in my current role, if I apply for an SCS role should I mention this at the very start of the application process?

If you need reasonable adjustments as part of the application process you should certainly discuss this with the vacancy holder before you apply for the role, equally if you are invited for an interview you should notify the vacancy holder as soon as possible. SCS is often managed by a small team in departments, and they are often open to conversations prior to applications being made.

If you have any other questions please email us at: info@csc.gov.uk.

Richard Webb
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