Race Equality Awards 2016 - Inclusive Workplace Culture - National Crime Agency

National Crime Agency Positive Action​

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is a 24/7 operational crime-fighting agency, employing around 4,500 officers with specialist capabilities to undertake and support operations, covering a broad range of complex areas. These include preventing serious, organised and complex crime, strengthening our borders, fighting fraud and cyber-crime, protecting children and young people from sexual abuse and exploitation and responding to a broad range of complex national threats and risks. 

The NCA’s role requires it to work with people from a broad mix of countries, cultures, backgrounds and lifestyles – the agency recognises it can only be effective in establishing a rich intelligence picture and carrying out successful operational activity through an ability to build trust and confidence with these diverse groups. The NCA recognises the contribution of an inclusive workplace culture to this goal. 

The NCA Board and wider senior leadership team have made it clear that improving the diversity of the workforce within the NCA is crucial, with a particular focus on the need to improve representation from under-represented groups across the agency and within specific role specialisms and grades.  The senior leaders of the NCA have demonstrated their commitment to the diversity agenda by acting as Director Champions and Deputy Director sponsors of the diversity staff groups.

The Strategic Equality Forum (SEF), which is chaired by the Deputy Director General,  provides a strategic overview of all equality and diversity objectives, activities and initiatives undertaken by the NCA. It holds the agency to account for its actions. 

The NCA has identified two notable programmes of work which have demonstrated the agency’s commitment to improve the representation of under-represented groups. At the end of 2015 the agency embarked on Project 500, to fill a number of business critical, operational roles, and the agency invested in the Positive Action Pathway programme, a Civil Service structured development initiative for under-represented groups.

Project 500 was set up specifically to address recruitment into business critical vacancies within the NCA.  It was successful in filling all business critical vacancies and, through holding a number of open days prior to advertising and encouraging applications from under-represented groups, the agency was pleased to report that 9% of successful applicants were from BAME backgrounds. One Deputy Director said: “Project 500 has been characterised by new ideas, lateral thinking, a collective will and a ‘can-do’ approach.”

The Positive Action Pathway programme aims to increase skills and confidence of officers from BAME backgrounds. The NCA has had considerable success to date with this programme, with the number of officers embarking on the programme increasing from five to 39.  The SEF have approved £125,000 of further investment in this programme and continue to monitor its effectiveness.  Participants have commented on the programme  “It had a positive impact on my career development” “I felt more confident after undertaking the pathway programme”.

The NCA recognises it is at the start of a journey and continues to implement further initiatives and activity, including:

  • Development of robust and insightful management information relating to diversity.
  • Including diversity considerations and desire to improve representation from the under-represented group in strategic workforce planning discussions.
  • Increasing the number of apprenticeship opportunities throughout the NCA and engaging with schools and colleges to encourage applications from under- represented groups (including BAME).
  • Working with the diversity staff groups to inform marketing strategies and selection practices for both senior and bulk recruitment campaigns.