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Institute launches inclusivity group

There are things we can do all for better diversity and inclusion, a webinar launching the Security Institute’s inclusive security SIG (special interest group, ISSIG). Diversity should not be just a tick-box exercise, but something done for the fabric of your company, the webinar heard.

One of the speakers, Institute member Mark Grant, made the case for a more diverse workforce; and went on to what individuals and companies can do, arguing for diversity as ‘a real competitive advantage’, something also set out by the previous speaker; Laura Haynes, Chair Emeritus of United Nations agency UN Women NC UK.

Mark gave language as an example – as in job descriptions, and internal memos. If you have a good HR department, he said, it can help you with writing a job description, that will appeal to women as much as men. For example, if you say ‘workplace’ rather than ‘workforce’, workplace can sound softer and more inclusive.

Rounding off the speakers, Institute chairman Prof Alison Wakefield thanked organisers Anna-Liisa Tampuu, of the consultancy NGS, and Lisa Reilly, of the Global Interagency Security Forum, an NGO. Alison, an academic criminologist at the University of West London, said that recent political events have given impetus to the drive to improve equality, diversity and inclusion, within organisations and society. In June, the Institute launched a community platform to allow all SIGs including this new inclusivity group, to communicate and share files.

She set out the Institute’s work already on the topic, and like other speakers stressed that inclusion is for everyone, not just under-represented groups. She mentioned the Next Generation in Security initiative, set up by Institute member Paul Barnard to show security management as a possible job choice for police cadets (teenage boys and girls); young member events; and a ‘women in cyber’ event in March. The Institute has signed the Armed Forces Covenant – that is, a sign that the Institute is also seeking to assist everyone in the military or ex-military.

She said that the Institute wants to link with others, and described diversity as a frequent topic of conversation; but people may not know where to start. She described diversity and inclusion as essential for professionalism and the standing of the security profession. She said: “We need to catch up with other sectors and professions, much further along in their equality, diversity and inclusion journey.” She closed with a warning to the security industry: “We are starting to look a little unusual compared to other sectors and this is really the route to growth and business advantage and professional credibility.”

Earlier, Anna-Liisa Tampuu introduced the webinar, and set out why the SIG was important and what it was aiming to do. The first speaker was Mahbubul Islam, a Chartered Security Professional (CSyP) and non-exec director of the Institute, and the Health and Safety Executive; and CISO (chief information security officer) for HM Courts and Tribunal Service, part of the Ministry of Justice. He described his background and personal experience, starting with his identity; as a Muslim, and Bangladeshi, born in the UK and a British citizen who went to school and grew up in Tower Hamlets in east London.

He spoke about ‘personal brand’ and now being in a position where he knew his personal brand, which started he said with his interview for the CSyP accreditation (unsuccessful first time). An ‘accidental’ civil servant since 2001, who later ‘accidentally’ went into security, he spoke of how the civil service has anonymised everything about job CVs, so that recruiters and interviewers do not know from names whether someone is from a BAME or any other background. He closed by calling for change in thinking and behaviour to be inclusive so that it doesn’t matter whether someone comes from Mars; the main thing is that they meet the criteria and can do the job.

More in the September 2020 print edition of Professional Security magazine.


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