Category champion

Category Champions

The Civil Service Awards Category Champions are proud supporters of the awards and promote their specific category to colleagues through networks across government and actively encourage nominations. 

Our Category Champions select an expert panel to support them in reviewing nominations and choosing the top 5 shortlist for their category. The category panels for 2019 will be announced shortly, so please do refer back to our website to see who will be joining our champions! 

Civil Service Awards Judges approve the shortlist and select the winner.

Below are a list of our 2019 Category Champions

Alex Aiken

Alex Aiken

Executive Director for Government Communications
Category Champion for the Communication & Engagement Award          

Alex Aiken is the Executive Director for Government Communications. He was appointed in December 2012 and has been responsible for creating the Government Communications Service and developing cross-government campaigns.

Between 2000 and 2012 he was Director of Communications and Strategy for Westminster City Council, leading the policy, member services and communications teams. He served as part of the group that oversaw the implementation of the Tri-Borough Shared Services programme and established the Westco communications consultancy which works for public and private sector clients around the UK.

He has been National Secretary of LGcommunications and Vice Chairman of the Public Relations Consultants Association Council. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA).

Before joining Westminster he worked in Parliament and for Conservative Central Office, leading the party’s Campaigns Unit and the Press Office. He has trained and advised politicians and officials in countries and states around the world in the practice of government and communications.

Alex was educated at the London School of Economics and Dame Alice Owen’s School.

He lives in Pimlico, London with his wife and children. In his spare time he is Chairman of an amateur football club, Westminster Wanderers FC and serves on the advisory Board for Hotel Future.


Alex Chisholm

Alex Chisholm

Permanent Secretary, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Category Champion for the Innovation & Science Award

Alex Chisholm became Permanent Secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in September 2016. Prior to that he was Joint Permanent Secretary for BEIS.

He is also:

  • Trustee and Deputy Chair at the international charity Breadline Africa

Previous career highlights include:

  • Permanent Secretary for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
  • Chief Executive of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
  • Chairperson and Commissioner of Ireland’s communications regulatory agency, ComReg
  • Chair of the Economic Regulators Network in Ireland
  • senior executive positions in the media, technology and e-commerce industries, with Pearson plc, Financial Times Group, eCountries Inc and Ecceleration Ltd
Melanie Dawes

Melanie Dawes

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
Category Champion for the Citizenship Award

Melanie Dawes took up her role as Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, formerly known as DCLG, on 1 March 2015. She is also gender champion for the Civil Service and sits on the Civil Service Board and Senior Leadership Committee and is Chair of the Civil Service People Board 

Melanie was Director General of the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat (EDS) at the Cabinet Office from October 2011, responsible for overseeing the system of Cabinet decision-making.

Between 2006 and 2011 she was at HMRC, including as one of the department’s Commissioners. She was Director General for Business Tax from November 2007, which involved responsibility for all the business taxes and duties as well as leadership of the department’s relationships with big business. From 2009, she also led the development of HMRC’s overall strategy as a department.

Before joining HMRC, Melanie spent 15 years at the Treasury, including as Europe Director from 2002 to 2006. She started her career as an economist and has worked on public spending, tax and tax credit policy, macroeconomics, monetary policy and the euro.

Jonathan Jones

Jonathan Jones

Permanent Secretary, Government Legal Department
Category Champion for the Health & Wellbeing Award 

Jonathan took up his role as Treasury Solicitor and Permanent Secretary of TSol on 1 March 2014. TSol became the Government Legal Department on 1 April 2015.

His previous roles include:

  • Director General, Home Office Legal Adviser’s Branch, 2012 to 2014
  • Deputy Treasury Solicitor at the Treasury Solicitor’s Department, 2009 to 2012
  • Director General of the Attorney General’s Office, 2004 to 2009
  • Legal Adviser to the Department for Education, 2002 to 2004

He is a barrister and a bencher (senior member) of Middle Temple, where he is active in training junior members of the Bar.

John Manzoni

John Manzoni

Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office
Category Champion for the Commercial Award    

John Manzoni became Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office in August 2015. He was appointed Chief Executive of the Civil Service in October 2014 and continues in this role also. He joined the Cabinet Office in February 2014 as Chief Executive of the Major Projects Authority.

John was previously President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian oil and gas company Talisman Energy Inc. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the private sector. In his 24 years at BP, he contributed to its global growth and held senior strategic and operational leadership roles at global, regional and local level. Between 2002 and 2007, he was Chief Executive, Refining and Marketing, spanning 6 different businesses across more than 100 countries and he was a member of the BP plc main board from 2003 to 2007.


Shan Morgan

Dame Shan Morgan

Permanent Secretary, Welsh Government 
Category Champion for the Inspirational Leadership Award

Shan joined the Civil Service on graduation, working on employment and training policy in the Manpower Services Commission, and on secondment to the European Commission.

In 1997, Shan was seconded to the Embassy in Paris as Labour and Social Affairs Attaché, then to the UK Representation in Brussels, responsible for Social, Environmental and Regional affairs.

On return to London, Shan transferred to the FCO as Director EU, responsible for negotiations on the Lisbon Treaty and the parliamentary ratification process.

Shan was Ambassador to Argentina and Paraguay from 2008-2012, when she was also appointed to the FCO’s Management Board. Returning to Brussels as Deputy Permanent Representative in 2012, she represented the UK on the Committee of Representatives, leading negotiations for the UK across a wide range of areas including environment, energy, fisheries, social affairs, health, transport, and Single Market issues.

Shan was appointed Welsh Government Permanent Secretary in February 2017.

Clare Moriarty

Clare Moriarty

Permanent Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Category Champion for the Digital Award   

Clare has been Permanent Secretary of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs since August 2015.  She is responsible for the overall management of the Department, supporting Ministers in creating a great place for living and charting the way forward for one of the Departments most affected by EU exit.  Her vision is for the Department and its delivery bodies, who together make up the Defra group, to achieve the best outcomes for customers and the environment by working together. 

Prior to her current role Clare was a Director General in the Department for Transport, initially for corporate services and from 2013 for rail. From 2005 to 2008 she was Constitution Director at the Ministry of Justice. Her early career was spent mainly in policy roles in the Department of Health and the NHS, including as Principal Private Secretary to both Conservative and Labour Secretaries of State for Health.

Clare has a long-standing interest in leadership and change.  She champions diversity and inclusion in all its forms, and promotes open working in Government.  Outside work she enjoys singing, mountain walking and spending time with family.  She was awarded a CB in the 2016 New Year Honours List.

Bernadette Kelly

Matthew Rycroft

Permanent Secretary, Department for International Development
Category Champion for the Project Delivery Excellence Award

Matthew Rycroft CBE has been the Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Development since 22 January 2018.

Matthew was previously the British Permanent Representative to the United Nations from April 2015 to January 2018.

From March 2011, Matthew was the FCO’s Chief Operating Officer. In that role he oversaw the running of the FCO and its network of 270 posts around the world, including all the Human Resources, Finance, Estates, Security, Information Technology, Protocol, Procurement and Corporate Services. He deputised for the Permanent Under Secretary in his absence.

Matthew was born on 16 June 1968, and brought up in Southampton and Cambridge. He has a degree in maths and philosophy from Merton College, Oxford.

Matthew joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1989. After a few months at the UN in Geneva and then on the NATO desk in London, he spent four years in the British Embassy in Paris.

In 1995-96 Matthew was head of the political section of Eastern Adriatic Department in the FCO. In this role he was a member of the British delegation to the Dayton peace talks on Bosnia.

After two years in the FCO’s Policy Planning Staff covering European and trans-Atlantic issues and brief secondments to the US State Department and US Congress, Matthew joined the British Embassy in Washington, following US domestic politics from 1998 to 2002.

From 2002 to 2004, Matthew was Private Secretary to the Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs, covering all foreign, European, Northern Ireland and defence issues in No10. He received a CBE for this work.

He was British Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2005 and the FCO Europe Director from 2008.

Matthew is married to Alison. They have three daughters, born in 1998, 2000 and 2005. Matthew speaks French and Bosnian, plays the double bass, and enjoys soccer and other sports.

Peter Schofield

Peter Schofield

Permanent Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions
Category Champion for the Public Service Award


Peter became the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions on 16 January 2018.

Previously he has worked:

  • as Director General for Finance at DWP from July 2016
  • as Director General for Housing and Planning at the Department for Communities and Local Government
  • as Director of the Enterprise and Growth Unit at HM Treasury
  • as a director in the Shareholder Executive on secondment to 3i PLC
  • in a number of roles, including Private Secretary to the Chief Secretary, at HM Treasury
Jonathan Slater

Jonathan Slater

Permanent Secretary, Department for Education
Category Champion for the Collaboration Award

Jonathan became the Permanent Secretary for the Department for Education in May 2016.

His previous roles in government include:

Director General and Head of the Economic and Domestic Secretariat, Cabinet Office
Director General of Head Office and Commissioning Services, Ministry of Defence
Director General for Transforming Justice, Ministry of Justice
Chief Executive of the Office, Criminal Justice Reform
Director of Performance and Improvement, National Offender Management Service
Director, Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit
Before joining the Civil Service in 2001, Jonathan was a local authority Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Education.

Jon Thompson

Jon Thompson

Permanent Secretary, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
Category Champion for the Resilience & Rapid Response Award

Jon was appointed Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in April 2016 after more than three years as Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence.

As Chief Executive, Jon is responsible for delivering the department’s strategy, including HMRC’s ambitious transformation programme, business objectives and customer service improvements.

Jon is HMRC’s Accounting Officer, accountable to Parliament for the department’s expenditure and performance.

He is also a Commissioner of Revenue and Customs, and a member of the HMRC Board.

A member of the Civil Service Board, Jon leads HMRC’s relationships with other government departments.

Jon is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA).

He is married to Dawn, they have three sons and live in Cambridgeshire.

Chris Wormald

Sir Chris Wormald

Permanent Secretary,  Department of Health and Social Care
Category Champion for the Policy & Use of Evidence Award

Sir Chris Wormald was appointed Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care in May 2016.

His previous posts include:

·         Permanent Secretary for the Department for Education

  • Director General in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Office
  • Head of the Economic and Domestic Secretariat, Cabinet Office
  • Director General, Public Service Reform, Cabinet Office
  • Director General for Local Government and Regeneration at the Department for Communities and Local Government
  • Principal Private Secretary to Estelle Morris and Charles Clarke


Elizabeth Gardiner

Elizabeth Gardiner

First Parliamentary Counsel

Categry Champion for the Developing People Award

Elizabeth Gardiner took up the post of First Parliamentary Counsel and Permanent Secretary of the Government in Parliament Group in the Cabinet Office on 24 November 2015.

Elizabeth qualified as a solicitor in Scotland and then in England and Wales. She joined the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel as an Assistant Parliamentary Counsel in 1991, and has spent over 20 years as a legislative drafter working on a full range of legislative projects. This included working on consolidation and law reform projects at the Law Commission and leading the team drafting tax legislation.

Rupert McNeil

Rupert McNeil

The Government Chief People Officer

Category Champion for the Diversity & Inclusion Award

Rupert McNeil was appointed Government Chief People Officer in January 2016.

Rupert joined the Civil Service from Lloyds Banking Group, where he was the Group HR Director. He began his career at the Confederation of British Industry before becoming a partner in Deloitte and Arthur Anderson. Since then he has worked for Barclays Bank plc, first as Executive Management Director and then as the HR Director for Global, Retail and Commercial Banking, and at Aviva where he was HR Director and then HR Centre of Expertise Director.

Rupert attended secondary school in Aberdeen, and graduated in Politics and Philosophy from St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. During his undergraduate degree he spent a semester as an intern at the US Senate. He attended Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program in 2010.

Antonia Romeo

Antonia Romeo

Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Trade

Category Champion for the Rising Star Award

Antonia Romeo is the Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Trade, which has responsibility for global trade promotion and finance, inward and outward investment, trade policy, and trade negotiation and market access arrangements with countries outside the EU. Prior to this, Antonia was Her Majesty’s Consul General in New York and Director General Economic and Commercial Affairs USA, and Special Envoy to the US technology companies.

Antonia began her career in the private sector, at strategic consultancy firm Oliver Wyman. She joined the Civil Service in 2000 as an economist.

Her previous senior roles in Her Majesty’s Government include:

  • Director-General and Head of the Economic and Domestic Secretariat in the Cabinet Office, responsible for coordinating policy advice to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, and delivery of the PM’s top priorities
  • Director-General, Criminal Justice at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), responsible for all criminal justice policy and major programmes
  • Director-General, Transformation at MoJ, responsible for reform and savings programmes, strategy, Digital Services, communications, Group HR and Group estates
  • Executive Director, Enterprise and Reform at Cabinet Office, responsible for reforming the Government’s governance and Board model, working with businesses
  • Director of Policy at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Principal Private Secretary to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice at MoJ