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Leading positive change: Co-chairing the Shadow Analysis Function People Board

Natasha Bance

The theme for this year’s National Inclusion Week is ‘Time to Act: The Power is Now’. The week will highlight the need to take a proactive approach to inclusion to bring about meaningful change.

To celebrate National Inclusion Week, Harry Ravi blogs about his experience as Co-Chair of the Analysis Function People Board (AFPB) Shadow Board. The Shadow Board is one of 21 parts of the Analysis Function (AF) Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Strategy. The Strategy sets out our approach to ensuring we as a Function are:

  • attracting a diverse range of candidates to careers in government analysis
  • building expertise and talent across the Function
  • creating an inclusive culture for everyone

The Analysis Function People Board (AFPB) is a senior board of analysts across government that concentrates on how to develop the skills and capability of government analysts. The AFPB aims to ensure we have the right people and skills in the right place to produce better analysis for better outcomes.

One of the most important parts of the 2021 AF D&I Strategy was to set up the Shadow Board. The purpose of this Shadow Board is to bring forward more diverse and junior perspectives to influence the strategies and function activities that affect us, the analytical community.

The board consists of 17 analysts from Grade 6 or below. These analysts come from:

  • central Whitehall ministerial departments
  • Devolved Administrations
  • Government Agencies
  • Independent Regulators

As a Board we aim to bring a wide range of experiences to our work. I have the fun task of co-chairing the Board alongside Holly White, and the wide breadth of expertise from different areas of government analysis never ceases to amaze me. We meet quarterly and have a unique opportunity to comment and influence the issues that the main board consider. This can include topics like broadening routes into government analysis, the future of the Fast Stream, or data science capability.

We discuss topics as a Shadow Board first, and then we participate in the conversations at the main board. We have found the main board to be really appreciative of our insights and challenges on various topics. They are also very interested in the variety of experiences our members bring to the discussions.

The influence of the Shadow Board may be through soft power, but the Board has been able to create real change and challenge on topics such as learning and development. The Board has also been able to help the Function understand who exactly the analytical community are. This work was gratefully acknowledged in the Analysis Function 2021 awards, as we came runner-up in the Inclusion category.

The Shadow Board will continue to challenge our senior analysts during the final three months of 2022 and throughout 2023 to ensure the work of the AF filters through to all analysts. We are now beginning to produce our own papers on issues that are important to us, and we will be supporting efforts to create a more cohesive analytical community. This includes both badged and unaffiliated analysts to ensure the support of the function is as widespread as it can be.

I have found that there are a lot of great things about being a member of the Shadow Board, including the opportunities to:

  • meet analysts from across Government
  • consider strategic issues that you might not see in your day-job
  • engage with senior analysts
  • give back some time to government analysis

If you want to help improve the diversity of views that are being incorporated into strategies that affect your day-to-day working life, I would recommend becoming part of a Shadow Board, whether that be in your department, profession, or something else.

We will shortly be opening a recruitment round for new members to the AFPB Shadow Board. The recruitment round will be active in October. Look out for details on the Analysis Function website in the next few weeks. You can email for more details in the meantime.

The AF’s D&I Working Group is always looking for new members! Recently, members have supported the organisation of the Leaders in Analysis career building event on neurodiverse analysts. Members have also drafted an inclusive data analysis section for our Inclusion Toolkit. The toolkit is a resource which showcases best practice in creating an inclusive culture in your workplace. If you are interested in joining, please email

Harry Ravi
Natasha Bance
Harry Ravi is co-chair of the Shadow Analysis Function People Board, alongside his role as Head of Aero, Auto and Defence Analysis at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).