2015 Winners | Civil Service Awards 2021 | Prestigious cross-government programme to recognise the wealth of inspirational individuals

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2015 Winners

The Analysis & Use of Evidence Award

Legacy Policy and Analytical Teams, Scottish Government

The Scottish Government’s approach to legacy and its evaluation of the 2014 Commonwealth Games differs in many ways from previous Games.  Legacy – a ten-year research programme that measures the impact of the Commonwealth Games – has been the first ever project on this scale to review the evidence of legacy from a major event, and has been key to long-term success. For example, the finding that hosting a large sporting event does not automatically lead to an increase in sports participation was crucial to subsequent Ministerial policy commitments and the strategic response 'A More Active Scotland: Building a Legacy from the Commonwealth Games' was published in February 2014 to capitalise on the Games and achieve lasting change. Since then, a new Division within Scottish Government has been created to drive this work forward. The next report, due in 2018, creates a focal point for partners to build on benefits to date to secure lasting legacies into the future. 


The Clarity Award

Dr Oliver Carter, Department of Health

Oli Carter is an Executive Officer on the NHS Commissioning Policy Team, and is responsible for drafting replies to correspondence from patients, their families and carers, and local MPs sent to the Minister for Life Sciences. One of the key areas of focus for the team has been the NHS approval process for two new drugs: Vimizim for Morquio syndrome and Translarna for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Both diseases are disabling, and the drugs are the only treatments available. However, as evidence for their effectiveness is limited – meaning the NHS must make a rigorous assessment before deciding whether to provide them – there is a long wait for those seeking answers, and as a result the Minister receives a lot of correspondence. Oli has managed to draft replies to these queries, cutting through the complexity of the topic, and responding to queries with integrity, tact and clarity, ensuring his replies are appropriate for the audience in question. Two stand out examples are a reply to a letter from an adult Morquio patient to the Life Sciences Minister, and a reply to a letter from a class of 10/11 year old pupils to the Prime Minister on behalf of their classmate with the same condition. Both asked similar questions on the topic, and Oli's drafts were able to make the relevant points without jargon, using a different approach to suit each correspondent, explaining the complexities of the decision making process – and why it is necessary. Overall, Oli's drafting skills have helped DH ministers and NHS England respond very effectively to often highly critical correspondence and negative media coverage (in both national and specialist press) around the process for approving new treatments for rare conditions.


The Building Capability & Skills Award

Digital Academy, Department for Work and Pensions

The Digital Academy is the DWP's primary vehicle for enabling digital capability. As the department’s source of expertise on digital opportunities, methodologies and customer centred design, the Academy provides the training to fill the skills gap of an organisation committed to being Digital by Default. Working closely with wider business to understand both project and individual development needs the Academy is able to improve the department’s capability for delivering business value and enable longer term cost savings.  Due to the Academy’s growing range of products reaching an increased audience there has been greater adoption of Agile methodologies, resulting in governance process changes, which in turn facilitates more digital projects getting into production faster. The real impact is quicker and easier services for citizens. For example, the user-centric approach of Academy graduates redesigning the Carers Allowance service vastly simplified the application process making it 49% shorter. Furthermore, as DWP replace external contractors with graduates the cost savings per contractor are, on average, £400-£600 per day. In one year – assuming 100 Academy graduates replace an equivalent number of contractors – this would enable c£10m gross savings.


The Commercial Award

Housing Markets and Guarantees, Department for Communities and Local Government

The team set up two guarantee schemes aimed at getting additional homes built in the affordable and private rented sectors respectively. For each scheme, the team procured a private sector delivery partner to raise finance in the capital markets and on-lend it to those developing and operating the new housing, by guaranteeing up to £10bn of funding. On both schemes the team led the policy development, did pre-market engagement – which helped refine the scheme rules – ran competitive procurement processes, awarded contracts and negotiated terms, and agreed and executed scheme documentation. Both schemes have gained the confidence of the market, with the highest rating from credit agencies and healthy appetite from investors. Since Spring 2014, the affordable housing guarantee scheme has led to over 13,600 new homes by offering £1.56bn of guarantees to 41 borrowers, and in March broke records with the lowest ever bond spread (pricing) for the sector. The private rented sector scheme has engaged with over 130 interested organisations, has a strong pipeline of applications and is in the credit assessment stage. Combined with the Build-to-Rent fund, the scheme is helping the private rented sector become a key component of the UK housing market. 


The Dame Lesley Strathie Operational Excellence Award

Working Out Team, HMP Standford Hill, National Offender Management Service

The innovative Working Out Team at HMP Standford Hill (an open resettlement prison) has delivered operational excellence by opening up genuine job opportunities for prisoners in preparation for their release. Recognised as a key to breaking the cycle of crime, the professionalism of the Working Out Team has succeeded in breaking down barriers to build trust with employers so as to secure employment for prisoners.  At the same time, prisoners are gaining skills and qualifications to gain work in fields where there is a national skills gap.  For example, a consortium of charities partially funds driving qualifications to enable prisoners to work as HGV/LGV drivers, where we have an estimated 45,000 deficit nationally.  Since brokering important partnerships, the Working Out Team has assisted 65 prisoners to become lorry drivers - a popular career choice for ex-offenders.  The local community also benefits, with the equivalent of 37 years-worth of work paid back last year through activities including litter picking, gardening and refurbishment of village halls.  Rehabilitation of offenders is at the core of their delivery, with half of the prison's population now engaged with the Working Out Team in improving their employability and work ethos. 


The Financial Management Award

Child Maintenance Programme, Department for Work and Pensions

Working together, the DWP Child Maintenance Programme and their Finance Business Partner (FBP) team have improved the quality of financial management and subsequent decision making at the CMG Change Programme. The relationship, which has been developed and nurtured over the past few years, ensures that there is a high level of trust between the two teams.  Information is willingly shared between both parties and solutions are developed which minimise any impact on programme activity whilst safeguarding the professional integrity of both Finance and Programme professionals.  The teams have collaboratively worked together to ensure forecasted expenditure is accurate, and as a result outturn is regularly within 2%. In developing expenditure plans supplier estimates are benchmarked internally prior to being challenged by the broader team of the Programme, Finance and Commercials. Working collaboratively, CMG have achieved £4.09m in savings in its IT expenditure since April 2014 following robust challenges to suppliers. This equates to 8.5% of total IT contracts placed since this date. 


The Project and Programme Management Award

Transforming Rehabilitation, Ministry of Justice

The Transforming Rehabilitation Programme was one of the most ambitious and complex sets of reforms introduced by the Coalition Government. Focussing on a group of offenders with often deep-rooted and intractable needs in a period of fiscal restraint, the programme needed to find ways to meet those needs for less. As a result, the programme aimed to introduce wholesale structural changes to the way probation and prisons work, to bring together the best of the public, voluntary and private sectors, and facilitate greater innovation in service provision. In a little over two years, the programme designed and delivered a completely new operating model for probation – navigating a challenging policy environment to innovate and allow rehabilitation to be extended to the most prolific offenders. This involved: new primary legislation; new organisational models; new processes spanning courts, prisons and probation; and a complex commercial strategy to build a diverse market for rehabilitation services.  Collaborative project and programme management were key for delivery and close working relationships, coupled with strong and transparent governance, were significant to the success of the programme.


The Innovation Award

Multidisciplinary Body Armour Coverage Analysis Team, Ministry of Defence

This nomination recognises a team of three individuals who, on top of their day-to-day duties, have worked tirelessly to develop world-leading and innovative approaches to improving personal ballistic protection to better protect UK Armed Forces personnel.  Over the past 12 months the Multidisciplinary Body Armour Coverage Analysis Team has defined the area of coverage for the arm and axilla, side protection, the thorax and abdomen – providing better protection without sacrificing mobility – and have successfully determined the size of the coverage required per percentiles of the military population. Overall, their work has already has demonstrated how to reduce the mass burden of the soldier's protection, improve interoperability with other equipment and will undoubtedly save lives. Building on previous successful work that fed a UOR and a Category B procurement programme, the team – which consists of Royal Centre for Defence Medicine Military Surgeon Major Johno Breeze, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory computer modeller Dr Rob Fryer and is led by a personal armour specialist from the Technology Office in Defence Equipment and Support Eluned Lewis – has also saved the MoD over 1.5M in procurement costs.


The Leadership Award

Wendy Hardaker, Government Legal Department

As the Director of the newly-created Commercial Law Group, part of the GLD, Wendy has, over a single year, brought together over 120 people into 7 teams, across 10 government departments and in 9 locations, including a dedicated commercial litigation team. Wendy's leadership has transformed these teams into a collegiate and professional Group, which delivers commercial legal services across government and is fast becoming a highly regarded shared expert service. From the outset, Wendy has driven the creation of the Group with great enthusiasm, purpose and kindness. Her passion and honesty are driving forward real change both in the approach to commercial legal work and the behaviours of the Group. The sense of community and diversity across the Group is also supported by the innovative use of a digital platform called Collaborate, championed by Wendy where colleagues share information and stay connected. Her staff work from 7 different IT systems and Collaborate enables everyone to communicate and link together, and share best practice. Wendy also leads the Group's regular 'all staff' days, where she has set out her vision and aspirations for the Group. These events, centred around topics such as 'our clients' and 'our people' and its cross-cutting work streams like 'external legal services' or 'knowledge management', empower members of the Group to take an active role in shaping its future and help generate good ideas. She champions everyone to get involved through the Change Project Work Streams which support the development of the Group, its people and its service. Above all, there is a sense across the Group of being ready to support our clients, with challenges big and small, despite being reasonably new ourselves. 


The Policy Award

Drug Driving Team, Department for Transport and Home Office

In March 2015, the Government introduced a new drug driving offence for England and Wales based on the work of the Drug Driving Team. Introduced to make the roads significantly safer by making enforcement of suspected drug drivers more effective, the team had to ensure decisions taken in this complex and high profile area were rooted in evidence. Working closely with a wide range of experts across government departments, the forensic science community and academia, the team were able to generate a number of options, on which the public were consulted. Highly praised by police forces, enforcement against drug driving has gone up four-fold and the successful conviction rate of those charged under the new offence is now above 90%, far in excess of 52% in 2012, thus saving the criminal justice system valuable time.  This has also been held up as a fine example of cross-Whitehall working.


The Volunteering Award

Elizabeth Formby, Department for Education

Liz demonstrates a selfless inner passion and determination to support and engage young people who are challenged in society - helping develop self-esteem and belief. Whilst policy lead for Secure Children's Homes, she was passionate about homes having a positive culture, where young people had time and space to develop confidence in their ability to learn and improve their life chances. She understood the challenges being faced and did all she could to ensure the resources were available and issues tackled. During the last five years, Liz has developed a charity called ACEF which supports the education and welfare of 946 street children in one of the largest slums in Kenya, providing them a home, school, food and their basic needs. She has also linked up with schools, Guides, Scouts and Children's homes in the UK to build an understanding of life in the slums, and to encourage their support through fundraising and volunteering. The impact has been substantial. 


The Digital Award

MapSearch Project, HM Land Registry

The Land Registry is digitising its huge volume of paper transactions to make them faster and cheaper. Collaborating with colleagues, the Government Digital Service (GDS) and customers throughout design and implementation. The MapSearch team produced MapSearch – an open source product and scalable hardware, which can be easily replicated across Land Registry. Used by 6,000 customers every day, the free-to-use digital service launched in March 2014, has enabled over 130,000 business customers to establish whether land and property in England or Wales is registered, view and record the location of land and property, obtain Land Registry title information and save a PDF record of their search enquiry. Designed to create efficiencies by reducing Land Registry resources required to process Search of the Index Map (SIMs) – a paid-for service used to discover if land is registered and obtain title numbers, essential in the conveyancing process –  the service has led to a 50% reduction in annual intake of SIMs from 610,000 to 300,000 as well as a £2.3m reduction in staff costs by redeploying 60 staff into other key operational areas. Furthermore, in a survey of 627 MapSearch users, undertaken in December 2014, 95% said the service saved them time, 95% said it was easy to use, 94% said it met expectations and 96% said it was intuitive.


The Communication Award

Ebola Campaign, Department of Health and Department for International Development

The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was unprecedented. From small beginnings in rural Guinea, Ebola swiftly spread across the entire continent. Requiring the UK's biggest ever response to a global health crisis, the Ebola campaign has been a successful example of cross-departmental collaboration. As the risk to the UK increased – as a result of the return of the first NHS volunteers – the Government’s challenge was to ensure the public, NHS staff and other public servants who may have contact with a suspected case, felt reassured and informed. In this objective, both the Department for International Development and the Department of Health’s communication strategies excelled, ensuring the Government was able to shift public perceptions both inside the UK and around the world. DFID led communications on the international response, co-ordinating with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence, the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health, while the Department of Health led efforts to co-ordinate the entire health system to ensure everyone involved in the response understood their role and felt confident in dealing with a first case safely and decisively. The Department of Health’s swift, agile response meant the Government had with immediate grip on all the key risks, while DFID’s quick establishment of Ebola communications units in Freetown and London ensured communications remained at the heart of the operational response. As a result, the department were able to anticipate the progress of the disease. This resulted in positive media coverage across national print and broadcast outlets.  Compared to US figures (Harris), the UK polling (YouGov) showed a much smaller spike in public concern following the first imported case and then a sharper subsequent decline. 


The Inspirational Line Manager of the Year Award

Ben Jones, Forestry Commission England

Ben leads a committed and cohesive team that works right across the country providing vital surveying, advisory and control work to help protect our trees and woodlands. Lean, cost effective, collaborative and making optimum use of modern technology, Ben's leadership drives and inspires a team that is a model for public service delivery. Under Ben's leadership, he and his team provide an effective operational response to pest and disease threats to Britain's trees and woodlands, rapidly providing essential field data to inform important management and policy decisions. Government action to manage Chalara ash dieback would not have been possible without Ben's efforts to motivate his team during an unprecedented period of sustained pressure. He has pioneered the world-leading aerial surveillance programme that enables early detection and prompt action to manage alien invasives. Initial focus on the destructive Phytophthora ramorum has reduced the impact on larch by an average of 12.4% per year in England between 2010 and 2014. Recent incursions of Phytophthora lateralis and Chestnut Blight have been found and eradicated under Ben's tenure, and his skilled management played a major part in the recent investigation and subsequent action to control Oriental Chestnut Gall Wasp, a new threat to the UK's chestnut trees.


The Diversity & Inclusion Award

John Norcliffe, Senior Delivery Manager, HM Revenue & Customs

John leads one of HMRC’s most ethnically diverse sites and wanted to address the imbalance between BAME staff at front line and management level. He recognised that the business should support and develop unsuccessful applicants from the EmBrace development programme for BAME staff. John designed a strategic three hour programme and persuaded 12 managers to help drive the programme nationally. Success was measured by the number of substantive promotions achieved and John’s programme resulted in a 55% promotions rate in the first year; higher than the rate in the main programme.


The Supporting Growth & Productivity Award

Cities and Local Growth Unit, Department for Communities and Local Government and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The joint Cities and Local Growth Unit, a partnership between BIS, DCLG and DfT (and formerly Cabinet Office), was established to drive devolution, decentralisation and place-led economic and productivity growth. The Unit has delivered this through the agreement and delivery of City Deals, Growth Deals and now Devolution Deals. Underpinning each deal has been an innovative "deal making" mechanism, where government and local places co-design bespoke (and frequently radical) place-based economic growth and productivity policies - on a scale not attempted in England before. This model has progressively expanded in scope through each successive wave of deals. The ever-expanding policy arena in which deals are being struck (infrastructure investment; R&D/innovation; business support and enterprise; housing; labour market interventions; adult skills; energy; industrial sector support; and governance reform) emphasises the suitability and sustainability of the "deal making" approach to government policy-making in the fields of economic growth and productivity. Further, the work is also now having a government-wide impact with a deal-led approach to policy-making, devolution and local growth becoming a core part of the forthcoming Spending Review process. This model has also enabled rapid delivery of measurable benefits – an agreed 78 Growth Deals - supported by £7bn of government investment, will unlock further £14bn of public and private sector investment by 2021 –  on the ground through the delivery of deals.