Hurrah For ‘Neuro-Diversity’..!

Not sure what that means..?

Well, according to the Civil Service Blog (readers, I venture here because I love it when the enemy reveals their plans..) it’s the next best thing since multigrain artisan sliced bread:

Diversity in GCHQ has come a long way in the last 20 years”, tweeted Sir Jeremy Heywood – and he is right! I was incredibly proud to see the media focus on GCHQ last week – for all the right reasons – and Alan Turing’s nephew, Sir John Dermot Turing, encapsulated our vision when he spoke out about the importance of staff being free to be themselves, bringing their talents unencumbered to bear on the vital work we do.

So far, so blah. The article goes on patting itself on the back for ticking the politically-correct boxes, as you’d expect:

Our employee networks for women, BME, LGBT and disabled staff, as well as the members of our Women in Tech, Straight Allies and Accessibility initiatives, all work tirelessly to increase inclusivity. Our week-long Diversity Festival in 2013 saw external speakers from all walks of life reach into our otherwise walled-off work lives and make connections with staff.

Which must be why all government departments are super-efficient and work like well-oiled machines, yes?


We have also had great press interest in our neuro-diversity work.

Ummm, what..?

We have long valued the unique contribution that those with different minds can bring and have a larger representation of colleagues on the autistic spectrum or with dyslexia or dyspraxia; they are core to our mission.

Oh. OK. If you say so…

Diversity for us, like the rest of the Civil Service, is not just a moral imperative – it is business critical. We are recruiting highly skilled staff who are in demand across the private sector, so we must send a positive message not just to staff, but to future recruits, for whom Diversity and Inclusion has been shown to be a key factor when considering employment

Has it really?!?

Frankly, I’d have thought it would be the last thing on any new recruit’s mind, but maybe it explains the rather unique mindset of civil servants. And also why the civil service doesn’t run like a well oiled machine…

Now, being a blog, this allows comments, which might not be the smartest thing:

HDD— 03/06/2015

I’m very interested to see that GCHQ has recognised the value of ‘neuro-diversity’ as it shows that this is at least recognised by some part of the Civil Service. I can’t wait for it to be accepted by HMRC. As someone with a quite recent diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, too old to have been properly diagnosed as a child, the last two years have been hell at times, the worst in my 30 years in HMRC. Why? Because of the excessively high behavioural element embedded within the PMR system. Although my work is known to be very accurate and thorough and there are no problems at all with this, I have received a ‘must improve’ marking for both years since PMR was introduced, solely because my Asperger’s led to me having a few meltdowns owing to the unacceptably noisy conditions my office was expected to try to work in, and the fact that I was then unable to forgive the way I was treated under this invidious system. It is obvious that the effect on staff with this condition was never considered when PMR was drafted and no doubt there will be others in the same position as myself, saddled with an unfair marking just because they don’t always display what the majority consider ‘normal’ behaviour, regardless of their ability and the quality of their actual work, which is surely the most important factor.

So there you have it, prospective civil servants! In the interests of ‘neuro-diversity’, you’ll be working alongside temperamental whackjobs who wig out while in work, and expect not to have to comply with the standards of behaviour you signed up to (and would get punished for non-compliance with).

Because they are ’free to be themselves’….

8 comments for “Hurrah For ‘Neuro-Diversity’..!

  1. June 9, 2015 at 11:09 am

    By the Lord Harry, they will be taking in midgets next. And furriners. Heck, why not simply absorb a platoon or three of Chinese military chaps who can come already trained. THAT would be diversity and inclusivity.

  2. June 9, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Back in the 1950’s some of us thought that places such as GCHQ and Porton Down were very strong on neuro-diversity, although it was not meant as a compliment.

  3. Henry Crun
    June 9, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Proof then that the public sector is sheltered employment for the brain dead.

  4. Daedalus
    June 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Ohh my god. It’s hard enough managing a dept of 20 odd “normal” people. This must be like trying to herd cats all going off in different directions. Trying to sort the wheat from the chaff to find the good ideas from the totally bonkers must be shear hell.

    • Errol
      June 9, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      How did you know that was my job!

      Yes, herding cats. However, herding from a unicycle balancing a lit stick of dynamite at the same time. It is exhausting.

  5. June 9, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Wilst living in South Africa, I had occasion to whip up a complaint with the Tax Office, and travelled to a out-of-the-way branch for a discussion. I went in to the main entrance, rang the bell, and a voice from BELOW the counter said “Afrikaans or English?”

    I bent across the counter top, and here sat this tiny bloke, smart suit, shirt tie, but, as I said, really small. I gave my name, and he pointed to a desk in the office, and then I found out that all the people in the office were either ‘little people’ or disabled in one manner or another.

    But the magic thing about this office was the amazing fact that everyone, as far as they were concened, was ‘normal’ and I was the only bloke who stood out because, well, I didn’t ‘fit in’ because I stood five foot nine tall, and walked upright. The lady who checked my problem out, and eventually sorted it speedily and efficiently, said that the system worked because everyone in the office was the same, no-one expected any special treatment, and their efficiency rating was stratospheric.

  6. Errol
    June 9, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    The buzz words and relentless PC ism are stupid, yes, but this is the civil service. It has to label things.

    However, I work with a chap who has aspergers. Two, at least. While we don’t pander to them quite how the CS would, nor celebrate the ‘neuro diversity’ twaddle, we are aware of their proclivities and made accommodation for them. Cleaners were told to not move the things on someone’s desk. That one could wear a woolly hat indoors. Fundamentally these eccentricities are harmless and if they do a good job – and they do – they add more value than tolerating such behaviour detracts.

  7. Mudplugger
    June 9, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    At a Civil Service unit which I shall refrain from naming but where I did some consultancy work, it was the rule that any disabled person applying for a post MUST be given an interview in all cases.
    So a job which, for example, required the post-holder to climb a ladder could feature an interview shortlist containing any number of limbless wheel-chair users.
    Hey ho, box ticked – excellent diversity performance – now move on.

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