I’m John Peart. In my day job, I’m a Bill Manager in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. I’ve been a Vice-chair for the Civil Service LGBT+ Network for around 3 years, and now I’m standing to be the Network’s next Chair.

My record

I’ve been involved with the Civil Service LGBT+ Network since I joined the Civil Service in 2013; first as a volunteer, then as Communications and Events Lead, and most recently as a Vice-Chair.

If you have:

You’ve seen my work, and you know I get stuff done.

In fact, if you have simply been to our social events, visited this website, or emailed in a question over the past 8 years, you’ve probably spoken to me or seen my work.

When I started volunteering for (then) the Civil Service Rainbow Alliance, the network was 100 people on an Excel spreadsheet and a monthly social in central London. Thanks to my work, and the work of other volunteers, this network is now the largest, most active network in the Civil Service: 2,000 members strong and counting.

I’m standing to be Chair because there’s more we can do, together, to make the Civil Service a great employer for LGBT+ people.

My vision

In the last two years, the Civil Service LGBT+ Network, like everything else, has had to adapt to the pandemic. I want to use the next two years to build on what worked in the pandemic, and to also take advantage of a return to something more normal.

I want every LGBT+ civil servant to feel like they have a national employee network that they are connected to: whether that’s through our programmes, through in-person events, or online. It shouldn’t matter where you live; you should be able to take part.

My plan

To make that a reality, and if elected as Chair of the Network, these would be my priorities for the next 2 years.

1. Focus on learning and development

As a cross-government network we are uniquely placed to facilitate inter-departmental learning and development opportunities. The success of the mentoring programme that I’ve led this year shows that. So I want to do more of it.

If elected as Chair, I will:

  1. ensure the new mentoring programme runs again in 2022 and 2023
  2. deliver an annual, national conference for LGBT+ civil servants focused on development and career progression

2. Tackle bullying, harassment and discrimination

LGBT+ civil servants still too frequently experience bullying, harassment and discrimination. I want to tackle this long-running issue.

If elected as Chair, I will:

  1. create an anti-bullying, harassment and discrimination campaign that can be used and re-used by networks and departments
  2. work with the new permanent secretary champion and Civil Service HR to develop cross-departmental policy responses to these issues in a way that is sensitive to the cross-cutting identities LGBT+ staff have

3. Make the most of the New Normal

The pandemic meant your cross-government Network went fully digital. I want to capture what worked and keep doing it, whilst bringing back our face-to-face events too.

If elected as Chair, I will:

  1. look to re-introduce our regular social events across the UK
  2. develop a new programme of digital events to compliment our in-person events
  3. create a new online space for LGBT+ civil servants and allies to talk, collaborate and work together on shared issues affecting LGBT+ civil servants

4. Provide expertise and advice

Increasingly local LGBT+ networks and teams want trusted resources they can use to inform internal HR policy or even to just present at team meetings. I want to make it easy to find the materials you need to talk to your colleagues, for whatever reason.

If elected as Chair, I will:

  1. create a new online tool that Networks and departmental teams can use to access data about the experience of LGBT+ civil servants
  2. produce a range of materials suitable for “lunch and learn” type events that Networks can use and adapt internally

5. Making the Network work

We need to keep improving the way the Network works to ensure it can continue to benefit you. I want to ensure the Network is transparent, accountable and can scale to meet the needs of our 2,000 members.

If elected as Chair, I will:

  1. initiate community listening exercises so we can repeat the success of BiSpace for other under-represented groups including LGBT+ women and ethnic minority staff
  2. ensure we have a business plan is transparent, regularly updated, and that you can scrutinise through regular Chair’s Question Time sessions
  3. improve the offer and deal for our volunteers, ensuring they are recognised in their departments for the contribution they give to the Network

So… Vote!

Over the last 8 years, I’ve proved I can deliver. I’ve shown I have the ideas, the passion, the energy and the enthusiasm to deliver for LGBT+ staff.

A vote for me is a vote to continue that work; to improve our processes, to take advantage of the new normal, to make our work more expansive and inclusive, and to deliver on issues that the evidence shows us matters the most to LGBT+ staff across the UK.