Earlier in May, we had our third PDS values day, which followed previous days on confidence as a cultural value and showing that we care. This time we focused on community and thinking about what it means and why it matters.
The talks and interactive sessions looked at community from different perspectives, from the international cyber community of the “5 Parliaments” to the experiences of being part of the ParliOUT community. The common thread running through the day was the power of communities.
Building on common values
Jill Pay, who was Parliament’s first female Serjeant at Arms until she retired in 2012, spoke with passion about her voluntary work with Coram Beanstalk, a charity that aims to improve childhood literacy.
Jill emphasised the great rewards available in both directions when we give back to the community, whether that’s our local community around our homes or workplaces, or a community of a specific group of people, like school children.
Communities can also form through shared experience or common goals. ParliOUT members gave an excellent presentation that included some of their own personal experiences of being LGBT+ in the workplace.
The ParliOUT Workplace Equality Network is a community of people within Parliament who may or may not be LGBT+ but share the common goal of supporting people who are, promoting understanding, and working to stop discrimination.
Mixedracefaces got everyone thinking about communities that come together through a sense of shared experience. The project is about sharing the stories of people of mixed race. Banseka Kayembe from PDS is involved with the project and spoke about her experience of being mixed race and how important it is for people to have a platform to share their experiences on their own terms.
I jiggle therefore I am - ring a bell for anyone? It was a tag line for a Sport England campaign, This Girl Can, that was launched to increase female participation in sport.
Jennie Price, former CEO of Sport England, gave an inspiring talk about the campaign’s success in bringing together a community of women whose biggest barrier to exercise was the fear of judgement. Jennie brought to life the importance of understanding and responding to the communities we’re trying to engage with.
Professional communities and sharing knowledge
Moving on to professional communities, the team presenting on professional guilds emphasised the strength that comes from sharing professional knowledge, skills, and expertise within PDS. Dan Barrett and Julie Byrne also talked about sharing but with a focus on partnerships outside of PDS.
Both talks made us think about building networks internally and externally and using these communities effectively to learn, to give and receive support, and build credibility through more open working.
An example of an international community that PDS is part of is the “5 Parliaments” (Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada, and USA), which is a group that shares cyber knowledge and experience. Soufiane Benmoussa from the Canadian Parliament said:
Partnership is the essence of success today.
Each Parliament benefits enormously from being part of this community, both from sharing vital experience and expertise, but also from having a more powerful negotiating position.
Game of Thrones fans are never happy
So there was lots of useful lessons learned but it was also a fun day that included:
- a bit of 80s music trivia and finding out who knew their Duran Duran from their Eurythmics
- the revelation that on the very important question of cats or dogs, most of the people in the room chose dogs
- a bit of uproar from Game of Thrones fans, that not everyone in PDS watches GoT
Read more posts about the PDS cultural values.