Civil Service, Finalist 2016, The Cityparents Best for all stages of Motherhood Award

Key features

  • A range of programmes and tools to deliver one overall aim of enabling mothers to achieve their career progression potential.
  • Shared best practice across a large organisation with different departments and agencies ensures ease of movement between those departments and fairness across the whole organisation.
  • The programmes and tools address the softer skills managers need to support their employees who are mothers, as well as giving practical help and advice.
  • Networks ensure that employees who are mothers are able to connect across the whole Civil Service.

The programmes around motherhood, implemented by the Civil Service, are all designed to promote the value that every talented individual has, giving them the opportunity to progress. Improving the support offered to employees who are mothers is a vital strand in enabling women to achieve this career progression. In September 2014, the Civil Service published ‘Talent Action Plan: Removing the barriers to success’, which was refreshed in March 2016. This commits the whole organisation to co-ordinated action to address barriers and bring together best practice.

Women are offered support before, during and on return from maternity leave. For example, keep in touch days can be used flexibly during maternity leave by offering the opportunity to take forward short term, strategic projects in line with career interests. On return to work, women are matched with a buddy to help them re-establish connections across their department. Development and mentoring programmes are also offered including: The Positive Action Pathway – a structured one-year development programme targeting under-represented groups, including women; mentoring facilitated by employee networks and the Civil Service Coaching and Mentoring Digital Database. Networks have been created to span the whole Civil Service, including the Cross-Government Women’s Network which represents over 30 departmental women’s, gender and parenting networks. A key feature of the network is that it shares best practice across government so that all women, from any background in the Civil Service, can access a range of support at different stages of their career and parenthood.

The overall aim is to maximise schemes and networks to support women at key transition points during their career, especially when returning from maternity leave.

In March 2015 the Civil Service Job Share Finder was launched. This online tool to facilitate job share partner matching is accompanied by job share guidance, which provides advice to employees and managers on setting up a partnership, recruiting and managing a job share partnership along with real-life case studies.

A toolkit for managers and employees was launched to coincide with the introduction of Shared Parental Leave in 2015. The intention is for managers and employees to work through the toolkit together.

In June 2016 the Civil Service intends to launch a new product which will help improve line managers’ soft skills including dealing with complex and sensitive issues.

The Civil Service has recognised that a range of tools and support, shared across all its departments and agencies, is the best way to support women at every step of motherhood. Women then have the best possible chance of reaching senior levels unhindered by career breaks and flexible working. These programmes have ensured that the Civil Service is clearly working towards its aim of becoming the most inclusive employer in the UK.