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Join our Black History Month (BHM) online event: Past, Present & Future


Black, yellow, red and green with Black History Month

Civil Service Local: East, South-East & London (ESEL) and the award winning cross-government Race to the Top G6/7 network are proud to invite you to their first ever cross-departmental Black History Month national event.

As we near the end of Black History Month you are invited to join our celebratory online collaborative event on 30 October 2020. We want to continue to share in the acknowledgement of the hard work, sacrifices and the amazing and inspiring contribution of dedicated pioneers who have helped to shape and contribute to our society and the many dedicated individuals who have continued the great work set by their predecessors.

What is BHM?

Black History Month is an annual global event observed in the UK in October to celebrate the culture, history and achievements of African Caribbean communities and it is vital in bringing communities together.

2020 is the Civil Service Year of Inclusion. This is an opportunity for us to celebrate our achievements to date and to think about how we want to continue to make the Civil Service a great place to work and shape our future. Having a sense of belonging, feeling you have a voice and being able to be your authentic self are all vital for inclusion.

What is the event’s theme and why join us?

With a theme of encapsulating Black History past, present & future, join us for a dynamic morning, with a blend of discussions, fireside chat and creative poet’s corner to celebrate the achievements of our Black British community, and highlight perspectives on topical issues such as senior Black representation.

We will pay homage to those who have contributed over centuries right through to the present day and have helped shape the future of our society.

We would like to share and discuss some of the highlights and the positive steps that has been made by the Black community through our guest speakers, we will also look at the Civil Service's plans to become the UK's most inclusive employer and more specifically the work to improve race equality across the Civil Service.

You will also have the opportunity to share your views on how we make the Civil Service a great place to work – help ‘shape our future’; driven by a commitment to inclusivity and creating better life chances for all. Get involved with a number of calls to action and hear about volunteering during the pandemic.

Look who is joining us on the day:

You will hear stories of inspiration from our guest speakers including talking about what Black History Month means to them.

Speakers throughout the day include:

  • Keynote speaker Howard Jeffrey MBE (non-civil servant – see below for more details)

Senior civil servants:

  • Matthew Rycroft CBE newly appointed CS Race Champion & Permanent Secretary at Home Office
  • Bernadette Thompson, Deputy Director at Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government & Co-chair, Race to the Top G6/7
  • Justin Placide, Assistant Director at at ‎Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy
  • Junior Johnson, Deputy Director at Ministry of Justice
  • Jaspal Roopra,‎ Deputy Director at ‎Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy
  • and Rob Neil OBE, Department of Education, Head of Culture Change & Leadership

External (non-civil servant) leaders:

  • Sandra Kerr CBE, National Campaign Director, Business in the Community
  • Howard Jeffrey MBE, Chair of charity Pepper Pot Centre; created the UK’s first ever Black Students Mentoring Programme in the 1980’s
  • Storyteller & author Sandra Agard
  • With a special appearance from Dr Shaun Wallace QC (Currently on 'The Chase' TV programme).

Want to sign up for 30 October 2020 (10am – 1pm)?

This online event is being organised by CS Local: East, South-East & London (ESEL) with Race to the Top G6/7 network and is open to all civil servants across the country.
Please register with your .gov email only.

Next steps

You must have your line manager's approval to attend and this may count towards your minimum 5 days a year learning and development.

Civil Service Local are committed to ensuring that wherever possible our events are accessible to all participants. If you have any specific requirements that will enable you to fully participate, please let us know and we will endeavour to make any reasonable adjustments.


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  1. Comment by julia sinclair posted on

    This invite has come out quite late and there are other commitments in place at the same time. Will this be recorded and will there be a play back facility ?

  2. Comment by Melanie Anderson posted on

    This sounds so interesting. For those who cannot attend, will the event be recorded?