Hello PPMA members and friends

As HR/OD professionals it is our duty to support and promote inclusiveness in our workplaces. Helping to promote understanding, fairness and equality is an important element of our roles as HR/OD professionals.

In my job as Head of London Regional Employers’ I am privileged to work with many London boroughs that are doing great work in the promotion of inclusiveness.

For example, since the death of George Floyd last year and the rise of Black Lives Matter, local government has stepped up and is taking the lead in driving forward the public sector race equality agenda. We were already working on service improvements and systems leadership, but since June 2020, we’ve challenged ourselves to more pro-actively and visibly embed high quality race equality commitments and actions.

We’ve established a new London local government work programme – Tackling Racial Inequality – which includes collaborating with borough staff networks. This allows us to have a robust and sustainable framework, as well as ensuring we don’t work in silos. We have committed to work together to provide tangible results for our staff and our councils on the issues and challenges highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement. The work programme is focused on three themes; Demonstrating Leadership, ensuring our boroughs demonstrate visible leadership on race matters for our communities, both within authorities, but also across partnerships. Our role as Large Employers, developing inclusive workforces, promoting diversity, becoming more culturally aware and supporting staff development. And Challenging and Improving Practice by sharing and building upon good practice at borough, sub-regional and regional levels to actively tackle racial inequality.

London boroughs are also actively supporting and promoting LGBTQ+ issues, for example, Camden have a supporting Trans statement. They have a zero tolerance approach to discrimination and harassment in all its forms and stand in solidarity with trans communities in Camden and around the world. Trans is a broad, umbrella term used to describe any people whose gender identity is not expressed in ways that are typically associated with their assigned sex at birth, those who have transitioned to female or male and those who have a non-binary, non-gender or gender-fluid identities. Aside from making strong supportive statements they have also given all staff the option to add their gender pronouns to their email signature as a way of symbolising commitment to trans equality and allyship, by getting used to talking about pronouns, and prevent mis-gendering – highlighting that whether someone’s gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth, or not, their pronouns should not be assumed. I know that many other public service organisations have adopted similar stances and practices.

Of course, COVID 19 has also brought a renewed focus on all equality issues with risk assessments that highlight additional care to be taken account for certain racial groups, as well as people with certain health and disability issues. And with the onset of the pandemic and the dramatic increase in the number of our staff working from home, all public service organisations did great work in supporting mental health with many initiatives to help engage and support staff.

At the PPMA we have run a multitude of webinars over the last year with the help of our sponsors on all these issues and we have another webinar coming up shortly, 1 July, on what we have learnt from the Black Lives Matter movement in the last year, that is being organised by one of our sponsors, Penna. That is one of the greatest benefits that being a PPMA member brings, the opportunity to learn, share and network with other colleagues from around the country on issues and initiatives that affect and help our workforces.

You may also be aware of the ground breaking mental health project that the PPMA Shires Network and PPMA:Solve are working on to develop a new framework and ‘charter’, where organisations can assess themselves against a set of standards to evidence their progress on building a mentally healthy workplace, including an agreed set of evidence based mental health standards and audit process, as well as channels for the sharing of best practice and innovation for improving workplace mental health across local government.

All the PPMA networking and sharing is designed to help and promote the great work and initiatives that public service HR/ OD professionals undertake and this should be underpinned by the embrace of inclusiveness, fairness, understanding and equality in all that we do.

Steve Davies, PPMA President