Who are they?

Brighton & Hove City Council is the local authority of the city of Brighton & Hove, representing a population of around 290,395 people. It has already worked on equalities measures, such as declaring Brighton & Hove as an anti-racist city, and the ‘Fair and Inclusive Action Plan’.

What was the problem?

Through their ‘Fair and Inclusive Action Plan’ and ‘Learning and Development Workstream’, Brighton & Hove City Council identified that they wanted to only retain, but also develop their staff from under-represented groups. 

Their data showed that BAME and White Other staff were not proportionately represented in senior roles. Their staff survey also shows them that these employees were less likely to believe they had opportunities to develop their careers.

Brighton & Hove Council ran a pilot programme in 2022, which was successful, and put out a tender for the second year of their programme, which Watch This Sp_ce won. 

How did we help?

Watch This Sp_ce developed a bespoke Diverse Talent Programme specifically for Brighton & Hove City Council, which ran for six months. All employees who worked in the relevant grades were encouraged to apply for the programme, and those who applied were supported by their Line Manager, with expectations made clear about the time commitment required to participate in the programme. 15 people were selected to join.

The programme included:

  • Matching each Participant with a Sponsor in a senior role, who would develop their relationship with the Participant, and meet with them regularly to mentor them 
  • Monthly workshop training sessions with Watch This Sp_ce
  • Access for all Participants to Brighton & Hove City Council’s ‘Learning Zone’ for training
  • Two individual coaching sessions with Watch This Sp_ce for all Participants
  • Work on career development plans throughout the programme

The Sponsors also had training sessions with the Watch This Sp_ce team on subjects such as Allyship, Unconscious Bias, Inclusive Leadership, and more. This encouraged Sponsors to learn about the experiences of the people they were working with, gain skills that would help them effectively provide support, and to network with other Sponsors. 

We collected feedback from both Sponsors and Participants throughout the programme, to enable us to develop the sessions and adapt as we moved along. People were open about frustrations in progressing to the next level roles, which meant that everyone could have open conversations about how to address areas of frustration. 

The training workshops we ran were a mixture of online, and in-person sessions, taking place once a month. Coaching sessions and Sponsor sessions were on-line. The Participants networked during their sessions and formed strong relationships which have continued beyond the programme. 

How is it going?

Brighton and Hove City Council saw some significant results after the implementation of the Watch This Sp_ce Diverse Talent Programme. Of the 15 Participants:

  • Four people were promoted within the first year of the programme’s completion
  • a further seven have applied for new, more senior roles

We’ve received highly positive feedback from Sponsors individually, and from the Sponsor/Participant partnerships, expressing that the partnerships had worked really well to help people, introduce them to and develop new relationships, and to provide them with advice and work shadowing opportunities.

Many of the Sponsors have continued to support Participants after the programme has ended. For the metrics that were set as indicators of success for the programme, 40% said they felt more confident to progress to their next role, 50% said they were more confident in their communication skills for work and 85% would recommend the programme to others. 

The programme has shown the Council leadership that this is an effective way to progress people’s careers. They plan to run more programmes like this for future leaders to address areas of under-representation and create more representative leadership teams.

Hear it from them…


“The programme was a success for myself and I would encourage everyone to join the Diverse Talent Programme”

Mathew Parr, Programme Participant

Programme Lead

“Year 2 of the Diverse Talent Programme for BME staff has shown us the importance of these programmes and supporting people with their career development. Mo and her team delivered a very inspiring course for us. We are thrilled to see that 3 people have already been promoted, and that several other people have applied for other higher graded roles. We hope to see their progress continue as people said their confidence had really increased. It is vital we work hard to break down barriers to career progression for BME staff in the workplace. This allows us to nurture our talent and better reflect our customers at all levels within the council, and reap the benefits that a diverse workforce brings.”

Elaine Sweetman, Lead Consultant, Learning and Organisational Development Team


“A perfect match with the wonderful colleague I was sponsoring. I found the two Sponsor sessions I attended very interesting and useful for me and to pass on to our team. ”

Katie Cuming, Public Health Consultant