Reverse mentoring scheme

As part of our commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive Government Statistician Group (GSG) we’ve launched a reverse mentoring scheme where Senior Civil Servants (SCS) take on the unfamiliar role of being mentored by less senior colleagues from diverse backgrounds.

This type of mentoring has been done elsewhere in Whitehall – including by John Manzoni, the ex-chief executive of the Civil Service. It has proven to be beneficial for the mentee, the mentor and the wider civil service.

The GSG scheme has been developed by the GSS Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Working Group, working in partnership with the GSS People Advisory Group (PAG) and wider Analysis Function.

Aims and objectives

The D&I Reverse Mentoring Scheme provides:

  • the opportunity for more junior colleagues from diverse backgrounds to mentor and engage with senior leaders within the profession
  • an open and honest environment to spark discussions around creating and delivering inclusive work practices, and to foster a joint learning experience for both parties
  • a great opportunity for junior staff to interact with a senior colleague and help their leaders to develop a greater depth of understanding and insight around our people and our business, leading to a more inclusive profession
  • an opportunity for senior statisticians to listen and understand the barriers as perceived by those in underrepresented groups

Common questions

As mentors: the scheme is open to any member of the GSG with any characteristic protected under the Equality Act 2010 and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

As mentees: All SCS members of the GSG.

It provides an opportunity for mentors to:

  • engage with senior leaders across the GSG and help them to develop their insight into diversity issues
  • promote awareness and greater understanding of their different cultures and attributes amongst GSG senior leaders
  • help to shape the way the profession addresses diversity and inclusion issues
  • learn from one of our senior leaders; what they are focused on and how they are working to improve the culture of their departments and the profession

It provides an opportunity for mentees to:

  • engage a diverse range of staff who want to support senior leaders
  • access honest staff feedback on their approach to diversity and inclusion
  • improve the profession’s capability to communicate with and develop diverse talent
  • increase knowledge of employees’ different cultures, barriers and attributes which can lead to greater insight and more effective decision-making

  • participation in the D&I Reverse Mentoring scheme enables participants to raise awareness of diversity issues with senior leaders across the profession
  • enabling leaders to be confident, inspirational and empowering to create a diverse and inclusive workforce is a key element of the ‘Effective Leaders’ strand of GSS People Plan (participating in D&I Reverse Mentoring would be a practical step to achieve this aim)
  • creating an inclusive culture where difference is valued, diversity is harnessed, and everyone has equal opportunity to achieve their potential is critical (D&I Reverse Mentoring is an important element of making the GSG a great place to work as it aims to help create a more inclusive culture within the profession)

Reverse mentoring awareness training sessions will be held online in late October and early November 2020. These sessions will introduce potential mentors to reverse mentoring and the reasons why a reverse mentoring scheme is important for individuals and the department.

It will also give them an opportunity to ask questions of current mentors/mentees, who shared their experiences of the scheme. These will also provide potential mentors with advice on how to be an effective reverse mentor and the rules of reverse mentoring.

Both mentors and mentees will be asked to sign a reverse mentoring agreement before beginning their mentoring journey. This will establish the agreed ground rules and confidentiality between mentoring pairs.