Black in the Public Sector with Richard Yeboah

Nov 23, 2021

Richard in Well Street in Hackney where he grew up: 'I will forever be grateful to the area for defining me and my association with community.'

#BlackInThePublicSector is an interview series spotlighting Black practitioners working across disciplines in local and national government. In this first instalment, we introduce Richard Yeboah, the newly appointed Head of Governance at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). Find out about his career journey into central government, his special place in Hackney, and his passion for working with communities.

Why did you choose this career? What makes you want to do this role in the public sector?

  • During my time at school and university, I had always had a great interest in political systems, how governments worked across the world and how they served the interests of communities. I was particularly interested in the machinery of government, and how organisations and systems worked together to provide public good. I also wanted to help communities progress in society, particularly disadvantaged, working-class communities. Working in the public sector felt like the perfect avenue to intertwine my beliefs and interests, and I have never looked back nine years later.

What has been your proudest moment since entering the public sector?

  • I think my proudest moment since entering the public sector was achieved in November 2021 when I joined DLUHC as Head of Governance. I had spent years wanting to be a senior civil servant (I applied for the Fast Stream three times!), but I took the alternative route and instead developed my experience and knowledge in local government, the NHS and non-departmental bodies. I really wanted to be at the centre of delivering central government objectives in support of the housing sector and local communities and I am really excited that I will have the opportunity to work towards that goal over the next year.

Prior to DLUHC, Richard led the Digital Portfolio Management Office at Homes England

Where is your favourite place in your local area and why?

  • I'm from Hackney and I love everything about the area. But my favourite place in the borough without a doubt is the lesser known area in the South of Hackney called Well Street. Well Street is right next to where I grew up, where I met all my childhood friends, where I went to school and where I used to go shopping with my Mum and Dad. The area has changed quite a bit post-gentrification, but I will forever be grateful to the area for defining me and my association with community.

Who are some people whose career paths inspire you, whether you know them personally or someone you admire from afar?

  • I've had so many influences throughout my career, and would like to say thank you to so many of the individuals who have helped me through my journey. I want to mention two people from afar that have really inspired my career. Althea Loderick, Chief Executive of the London Borough of Newham, and Ian Thomas CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. It's fantastic to see two Black leaders of local authorities, who have both had amazing careers and are a real inspiration to all Black people that you can make it in the public sector.

Richard has chosen to donate the honorarium for this interview to Rise365, an organisation supporting young people in Hackney. Follow Richard on Twitter and LinkedIn. To keep up to date with the #BlackInThePublicSector series, follow Public Practice on Twitter and LinkedIn and subscribe to our newsletter. If you're interested in finding a career in the public sector, take a look at our placement programme for Associates.

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