The Benefits of Diversity
The Contribution of Christian Staff Support Groups
in London Borough Councils
Click Here to download the Conference Report.
The London Councils Christian Network meeting titled ‘The Benefits of Diversity’ took place in the Jubilee Room at the House of Commons on Tuesday 28th October 2008. Fifty-two delegates interested or working in the area of diversity from across the London Borough Councils, and further afield, took part in an evening of lively talks and panel discussion.
This report highlights the need to understand one’s workforce, recognising that workforce profiles are changing, as is the nature of minority groups, including an increasing recognition of faith groups; how employers make the most of the benefits available from employee groups, in particular Christian groups?
The meeting highlighted successful examples of ‘staff recognition’ for Christian workplace groups from the public and private sector and the validity, within an inclusive diversity agenda, of Christian staff groups. Diversity networks were exhorted as ‘expert’ groups that the organisation can call upon, and is one of the many business benefits, which diversity groups can bring to the organisation. This report will give insights and show the positive contribution that staff networks, in this case Christian networks, can bring to the organisation, work colleagues and the community.
The meeting aimed at providing a platform for politicians, diversity professionals, policy developers and leaders of council Christian groups to hear and discuss the benefits of staff support groups. It also gave the opportunity to learn about the work of the newly formed London Councils Christian Network and the potential impact this group can have if given the recognition and support needed by London Councils.
We are particularly grateful to our Chair, Jim Dobbin, Member of Parliament for Heywood & Middleton, who serves on a number of select committees including, Communities and Local Government Committee. We are also grateful to our four keynote speakers, diversity professionals who took part in the discussions and the leaders of the Christian staff support groups.
The meeting was jointly organised by the London Councils Christian Network and Transform Work UK. We would also like to thank the Events Team at the House of Commons as well as Christians in Parliament for their support in enabling this meeting to take place.
Speakers of varying backgrounds contributed to the Conference, which was aimed at demonstrating the validity of Christians within the diversity agenda.
CAROLINE WATERS, Director, People & Policy, for BT Group,
Caroline's policy responsibilities include human resources process design and re-engineering for employment, strategic skills and equality and diversity.
Caroline has previously held roles as Director People Networks, Director of Employment Policy, HR Strategic Partner for the BT Group, HR Manager BT Europe and Director HR Programmes and HQ Services. Caroline regularly provides advice and guidance to government and industry and is a member of the employers for work-life balance advisory group, the Equal Opportunities Commission's investigation advisory boards into pregnancy discrimination and flexible and part-time working, the NCH Corporate HR Strategy Group, the Scope Diversity Works Board, the 4Children Advisory Board, the Dignity at Work Partnership steering group, the Ambition:IT steering group, Chair of the Lone Parents working group, the Carers UK ACE national employers' group, the Employers' Forum on Belief, the Employers for Fathers Forum and a Director of the Stichting Permits Board.
Caroline has also judged a number of prestigious diversity awards including the CRE Race in the Media Awards, Help the Aged's Living Legends Awards and Working Families Employer of the Year Awards.
JOHN CASEY, Chair, Christians in the Audit Commission
John has had a management career in both public and not for profit sectors. He currently works for the Audit Commission, an independent body responsible for ensuring good value and high quality in local public services. John is one of the founding members of Christians in the Audit Commission, a workplace network that is a recognised part of the Commission’s diversity agenda. The aims of the network are to serve their employer faithfully while sharing their faith and providing opportunity for others to explore Christianity. John and his wife, Kate, live in Yorkshire where they are also part of the leadership team of a growing church community.
ADRIAN MILES, Workplace Consultant, Transform Work UK
Dr. Adrian Miles has worked in Local Government as a senior manager for many years. More recently he was employed as a Lead Inspector in 2000 and then Head of Operations for the Audit Commission in the West Midlands region. He was also Chair of Christians in the Audit Commission. In 2007 Adrian retired from the Audit Commission to help kindle his passion for seeing Christians thrive in their places of work and is now a member of the Transform Work UK team. Adrian also has a Master of Science degree in Public Sector Management and in 1994 was awarded a PhD for his research into ‘Managing Stress amongst Professional Carers’. Adrian has published a number of articles around his work and has conducted many stress/motivation workshops in the workplace.
LORIS RICHARDS, Coordinator, London Councils Christian Network
Originally employed in the world of banking, Loris felt the call from God to move into local government and is currently employed in the field of accounting. She is the leader of the Merton Staff Christian Fellowship and was unanimously elected last year to represent the London Councils’ Christian Network. She has a busy schedule as a wife and mother, but finds time somehow to share the good news of Jesus Christ in local schools on weekdays as well as leading the LCCN Personal Development Workshop about 4 times a year, helping others to release their potential in God. Loris has travelled widely and recently adopted an orphanage in Jamaica! Her strong personal testimony is that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.