Diversity and inclusion

The People Plan for the Government Statistical Service (GSS) aims to ensure that the Government Statistician Group (GSG) is diverse and inclusive with a membership that reflects society in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and socio-economic background.

The GSS Careers Team are working to promote a culture that attracts, develops, retains and engages a diverse population across the profession.

Working group

Following analysis of the 2019 Analysis Function Diversity and Inclusion Survey (D&I Survey), we set up a GSS Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, made up of volunteers from across the GSS.

The group are working on GSS specific survey analysis to help drive their recommendations. They are also developing communications and a GSS Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan which aligns to the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Practice Expectations 2020 to 2021.

The GSS People Committee have actioned survey recommendations made in June 2020. The analysis of the 2020 D&I Survey will make further recommendations to be rolled out in 2021.

The group will share best practice across the GSS and the wider Analysis Function.  Lived experiences will be shared through blog posts.

Working with Heads of Profession

In June 2019 Iain Bell, (Deputy National Statistician) hosted a diversity and inclusion panel where attendees shared lived experiences with GSS Heads of Profession (HoPs). The Diversity and Inclusion Working Group plan to hold a similar event, open to a wider audience in 2021.


In March 2020 the GSS Careers Team led a session supporting the Civil Service Year of Inclusion. As part of this session, HoPs and other Senior Civil Servants at the session were asked to make diversity and inclusion pledges.

Four Heads of Profession holding up placards stating their diversity and inclusion pledges

Julie Stanborough (Deputy Director of the Best Practice and Impact division) pledged to practise active listening.

David Blunt (Ministry of Justice and Chair of the People Committee) pledged that he would not only invite people to the party, but also ask them to dance.

Sandra Tudor pledged to promote diversity and inclusion within the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and to mentor an individual from a BAME background.

Claire Griffiths (Public Health England) pledged to promote transparency by writing weeknotes so people know what she is doing.

Other HoPs at the session made personal pledges on greeting cards. These will sent back to them after six months to remind them of their personal commitments to diversity and inclusion.

Making the GSS more diverse and inclusive

Actions taken to make the GSS more inclusive and to attract a diverse mix of staff:

  • refreshed entry routes to the profession via level 4 data analyst apprenticeships
  • a level 6 trailblazer data science apprenticeship in England and Wales
  • removal of barriers to taking the technical test in apprenticeship recruitment
  • requests for recruitment management information and metrics to include diversity data
  • introduction of video interviewing to improve accessibility
  • continued work on our student pipeline which includes the Summer Diversity Internship Programme
  • greater collaboration across GSS teams to access more management information on diversity and inclusion
  • launched Reverse Mentoring Scheme
  • launched pilot of D&I Shadow Board for the GSS People Committee

Diversity and inclusion champions

The Careers Team are pleased to announce that there are now two GSS diversity and inclusion champions: Steph Howarth from Welsh Government and Jason Bradbury from the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted).

Stephanie Howarth is the Welsh Government’s interim Chief Statistician. She joined the GSS in 2005 as a fast stream statistician and has worked in a number of statistical roles across south Wales in the Welsh Government, the United Kingdom Statistics Authority and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

“I’m incredibly passionate about making the GSS a truly inclusive place to work where everyone can thrive. The statistics we produce are a window on the world – if the GSS better reflects the experiences of everyone so too will our statistics.”

Steph Howarth, GSS Diversity and Inclusion Champion

Next steps

We will evaluate the D&I Shadow Board pilot in February 2021 and then roll it out to volunteers from the GSG. We will encourage and assist other GSS decision making boards to set up D&I Shadow Boards.

The GSS Diversity and Inclusion Working Group are looking for new enthusiastic members to support the ongoing GSS diversity and inclusion initiatives.  If you would like to volunteer please email gss.careers@ons.gov.uk.

Staff across the GSS will continue to publish diversity and inclusion blog posts on the GSS website, use Twitter to advertise diversity and inclusion work and keep this web page up to date.

We will also share useful guidance to enhance understanding of diversity issues and barriers to progression.


Diversity and Inclusion Calendar 2020-21 (PDF)

LGBTQIA+: Deconstructing the acronym

Discrimination and exclusion: Exploring LGBT+ experiences at work

Conceal or Reveal? In pursuit of authenticity at work

It’s not the fish it’s the water: Attitudes, stigma and the LGBT+ community

What is it like to have a visual impairment?

Racism and inappropriate behaviours: 5 actions for allies

Race at Work 2018: The Scorecard Report 

Let’s talk about race

Business in the community 

Inclusion starts with an I

Civil Service diversity and inclusion policies

Diversity and inclusion at work: facing up to the business case

Podcasts from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

(TED talk) Three ways to be a better ally in the workplace

(TED talk) The power of introverts

Anti-racism: What you can do

Racism and wellbeing: The link and what organisations can do 

Managing micro-incivilities in the workplace

Be an active bystander

Covid-19 and anti-chinese prejudice

Neurodiversity Toolkit

Business Disability Forum – Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources

Creating an Inclusive Culture – webinar

Walking the talk – how inclusive are your leaders? – webinar

How inclusive is your team? – webinar

Inclusive selection and onboarding: going beyond tackling bias – webinar

The psychology of getting positive action right- webinar