European Diversity Awards Winner

  • 10-10-2011

Barbara_Lindsey_.pngBarbara Lindsay is a Senior Policy Adviser at the Government Equalities Office. She is a leading HR professional specialising in race equality and diversity. Her career has included postings in the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury, and the former Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Whilst working in HM Treasury, she was a member of the team that advised members of the ANC (African National Congress) on Personnel Management policy prior to their coming to power.  She continues to be at the forefront of equalities work in her current role in the Government Equalities Office. 


Barbara was integral in lobbying personnel departments across the civil service to discontinue the use of staff appraisals being used when staff applied for posts within their respective civil service departments.  Barbara was able to establish through research that statistically BAME employees were disadvantaged by subjective and negative managerial opinions on their staff appraisals which put them at a disadvantage when applying for posts, especially in regard to promotion. This resulted in staff applying for posts with their CVs only which offered an objective competency based benchmark. 


Barbara was a founder and former Acting Chair of the Civil Service Race Equality Network (CSREN).  It’s aim was to influence and advise on race equality policy and practice within the Civil Service. Under her headship, CSREN advised and offered support for other public sector departments by setting up and strengthening their own networks, as well as becoming the umbrella organisation for equality and diversity issues across the Civil Service. Furthermore, her work included establishing partnerships with private sector BAME networks e.g. Lloyds TSB, BBC, BT, as well international links Trevor Wilson (TWI inc. in Canada) .  CSREN secured financial support for its activities which included its annual lectures.  Barbara was instrumental in influencing Sir Richard Wilson, former Head of the Home Civil Service, to request all Civil Service Permanent Secretaries that staff be allowed to attend departmental network meetings on regular basis. 


Barbara was instrumental in the setting up of the then DTI’s (Department of Trade and Industry) Career Development Centre (CDC) for staff below senior management level. Following the success of the pilot CDC, Barbara influenced the Department to roll out the programme for a further 2 years and encouraged other Government departments to consider providing a similar development programme.


Through Barbara’s work as a Career Adviser, she has counselled in excess of 500 staff over the past 7 years and successfully encouraged many of them to seek positions beyond the public sector including working in the private and voluntary sectors. 

Barbara’s achievements also include working on engaging the public sector in their new duties around the Gender Equality Duty (2006).  She has also contributed to the successful implementation of the Government’s priority ‘to increase the numbers of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women councillors’ by leading on the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women Councillors Taskforce outreach programme across Great Britain.  Barbara organised conducted tours of local town halls which gave potential councillors an opportunity to engage with the establishment in which they could be working.  70% of those who went on the tours stated in their feedback that they would be more likely to put themselves forward as a local councillor and several candidates were encouraged to register for the Operation Black Vote MP Shadowing Scheme.

Barbara is a tireless voluntary advocate for people in her local community and has used her expertise in equality and diversity legislation to ensure social justice  She has first hand experience of ‘unfairness’ of some local council residents and has stepped in to redress this. The impact was:  A local woman being re-housed as she was paralysed from the waist down. Barbara complained on her behalf and when she was not being listened to, took the individual into the Leader of the Council’s Office and the result was that she was not only re-housed but her home was re-furbished to meet her disability needs. Barbara managed again through her advocacy work and experience in equality and diversity matters to convince another local council in North London, to re-house a mother with two severely disabled children. The outcome included having a lift installed in the apartment and better home care.  Barbara has also persuaded the immigration authorities to review the circumstances of certain individuals, ensuring fairness and integrity was properly taken into consideration, and as a result secured permanent residence for these families.

Through public speaking engagements i.e. St Matthew Academy Speed Mentoring (May 2011) several young students requested that Barbara be their mentor.



Most of Barbara’s postings have involved briefing ministers and senior management on a range of issues including recruitment policy, science and technology, human resources with an emphasis on career development, policy issues relating to Gender Equality as well as race and diversity issues. She has been a driving force in departmental staff management advisory groups, in particular in relation to race and diversity issues - including advising at Board level.  She was a founder member and Chair of the Civil Service Race Equality Network (CSREN) whose first sponsor was the Head of the Civil Service and Cabinet Secretary now Lord Richard Wilson. Barbara launched CSREN’s Annual Diversity Lecture and speakers have included: Sir Andrew Turnbull (Head of the Home Civil Service), Trevor Phillips (Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission), Guardian Journalist - Gary Younge, Human Rights lawyer - Imran Khan and Baroness Patricia Scotland QC.


In 1998 and 2001 the National Portrait Gallery held a photographic exhibition entitled: ‘Black Power’ recording the contribution of Black Britons in various areas of British society.  Barbara was one of the 24 chosen featured role models in this exhibition and later was also featured in the book ‘Portrait of Black Achievement’ Comprising Successful Careers, published by University of London.


Barbara’s lifelong advocacy on issues relating to inequality in the workplace and in particular the public sector resulted in her involvement as a key member of a House of Lords based committee advising on bullying and harassment in the workplace (2004-2006). The ground-breaking 24 month British Occupational Health Research Foundation sponsored project was chaired by Baroness Anne Gibson and included Barbara’s membership, the HSE, CIPD, and AMICUS as well as the project team comprising of Dr Sabir Giga, Dr Helge Hoel and well known USA Psychologist, Professor Cary Cooper. One of the findings from the research included the disproportionate experiences of ethnic minority staff in regard to workplace bullying (see ).


Barbara has been a Judge at the British Diversity Awards and in 2003, found much to her surprise that she was honoured with the MBE for her ongoing work and contribution to race and diversity issues within the DTI. When asked how she felt about it
She said "It is really nice to know that your work has been appreciated in this public way, My parents who now live in the Caribbean are very excited and proud for me."


Barbara worked briefly in the Women’s National Commission (WNC) on its outreach strategy until it was abolished in December 2010.  She is currently working on a new project to provide information that will contribute to the WNC’s legacy and future plans for a new machinery to give women within the UK a more direct form of engagement with Government.


Other information including memberships/awards
2007 - Finalist in ‘Excellence’ category for European Federation of Black Women Business Owners BIBA Awards

2006 -  Founder member of DTI’s Multi-Faith Advisory Group

2003 -  Awarded MBE for work on promoting equality and diversity/helping others to realise their potential

2003 - 2005 CSREN Representative on UMIST Research Project Board (addressing Bullying  and Harassment);

2002 – Present:  Judge for the British Diversity Awards and received a personal award in 2002 from BDA

2001:  Founder member of Civil Service Race Equality Network (CSREN); its Sponsor is the Head of the Home Civil Service.  CSREN Chair from February 2003 – March 2005.  Produced CSREN’s first two Annual Reviews; established CSREN Annual Diversity Lecture in 2004 and for high profile speakers to deliver the Annual Lecture : Trevor Phillips (Chair of CRE); 2005 - Imran Khan (Lawyer); 2006 - Baroness Scotland (Ministry of Justice).

1998:  Member of Office of Science and Technology’s Continuous Improvement Working Group responsible for taking forward a variety of Personnel Management initiatives on: recruitment; learning and development of staff; advising on diversity issues.

1997:  Founder member of DTI’s Advisory Group for Racial Equality (AGRE), providing advice to DTI’s Permanent Secretary and the Executive Board; member of the DTI’s Disability Advisory Group. 



Article on Positive Action Vs Positive Discrimination - published in: Public Service Review: Central Government (Autumn 2004 issue).

  • Federation of Black Housing Organisations (Feb/Mar issue 2005).
  • and Opportunities (the Public Sector recruitment weekly - April 2005).
  • Career Guidance for DTI Intranet (2003, 2005). 

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