It’s a common misunderstanding to think that diversity recruiting is just a box-ticking exercise. But for providers of public services – be that government authorities or police forces etc. – the need for diversity is more critical than ever.

Why? Diversity should be at the forefront of a public service recruiter’s mind because their whole purpose is to serve society and be responsive to the needs of citizens, who are known to be more comfortable when dealing with a service that is representative of the population they feel a part of.

A research study by the European Commission describes the imperative for such diversity, noting: “A more diverse workforce has been proven to be one that will increase organisational performance by providing multiple, fresh perspectives leading to innovation and better risk management… The improvement that diverse workforces bring to business delivery is linked to the diversification of the marketplace.”

In order for an organisation to better service this diverse marketplace and tap into their power, it is important for a workforce to understand and reflect that diversity. Technology can help empower a business to transform the recruiting process and maximise the selection of talent potential for an organisation based on their needs.

An example of an organisation that WCN has helped with managing diversity in recruitment is the British Transport Police (BTP), the national police force for the railways in England, Scotland and Wales. Every day, the force polices the journeys of more than six million passengers over 3,000 railway stations and depots.

Realising the need for diversity, the BTP aims to deliver what it call ’15 in 5’ by 2019 which includes:

  • BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) officers making up at least 15% of its officer workforce
  • Women filling at least 15% of its senior posts (Superintendent and above)
  • At least 15% of its employees describing their sexuality as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual
  • People with a disability making up at least 15% of its workforce
  • Being in    the  top  15%  of  employers  in  the  Stonewall  Workplace  Equality  Index  and  Race  for Opportunity benchmarking exercises


Their reasons for this are to:

  • Identify and  engage  with  vulnerable  and  minority  passengers to  address  their  concerns  and  promote confidence in the use of the railways.
  • Embed a culture of inclusiveness within the BTP ensuing all staff are treated fairly and with dignity and respect.

In order to achieve this, the busy force which advertises over 550 vacancies to fill each year to support the operations of its force uses the WCN e-Recruitment system to plan diversity-based recruitment campaigns and move candidates along in an engaging manner that encourages candidates to stick with an application throughout the hiring process.

This includes using WCN event management technology to analyse existing talent pools and reach out to candidates whose demographics match typically hard-to-reach audiences that fall under the 15 in 5 umbrella.

Clever filtering of registration data means that the BTP can now invite more candidates to diversity themed events, which have seen attendance numbers rising from just a small group of 33 to around 350 prospective applicants, the vast majority of whom go on to fill a vacant position in the service. WCN technology enables the service to continuously engage with all of its applicants at every stage of the process and recruiters use flags to alert leaders to promising talent who should move to the next stage.

Since deploying WCN, the BTP has seen numerous benefits including:

  • Improved use of government positive action provisions to improve diversity in their workforce when recruiting and promoting candidates
  • Detailed reports and filters so it can report information to ministers or chief constables at any given time and demonstrate full compliance in doing so.


For public services organisations, such enhancements can help serve to enable a workforce equipped to relate to core stakeholders wherever they are from. Evidently, diversifying the recruitment process and getting it right the first time will ultimately improve your business delivery, improve the image of your organisation and save you money.





Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.