Hear from our Category Champions | Civil Service Awards 2021 | Prestigious cross-government programme to recognise the wealth of inspirational individuals

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Hear from our Category Champions

The Civil Service Awards is back! If you know a team or individual who has done some brilliant work this year, nominate them for an award by 5pm on 8th September for their chance to be recognised.


We’re delighted to announce that this year’s awards will be a hybrid ceremony, allowing more teams from across the country a chance to take part and celebrate in these fantastic awards.


The Civil Service Awards is an annual celebration of brilliant work achieved across the Civil Service, in areas ranging from partnerships to collaboration, leadership to inclusivity, innovation to analysis, and more.


Our 2021 category champions will be announced soon, but for now, hear from our 2020 champions!

Words of wisdom from some of our Category Champions

“Now in their 15th year, the Civil Service Awards are a really important way to recognise the truly inspirational work that is going on every day across the Civil Service. This is an opportunity to celebrate the truly exceptional individuals we have in the Civil Service who go above and beyond, making a huge impact and improving the lives of citizens and communities. Please get nominating!”
- Sue Gray, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Finance in the Northern Ireland Executive, and Citizenship Category Champion

"With so many different departments and agencies, functions and professions in the Civil Service, effective collaboration is key to delivering a quality service for UK citizens. In this category, we will be looking for nominations that exemplify the Civil Service's focus on working together towards delivering the government’s agenda. Nominations may show how collaboration has been critical to solving a difficult problem, and particularly explore and develop new, innovative ways of collaborating that can be adopted across government. By working together we can be more than the sum of our parts and deliver better outcomes – I look forward to seeing examples of how modern organisations and people can work in partnership to deliver better outcomes."
- Mike Driver, Interim Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, and Collaboration Category Champion

“This year more than perhaps ever before, we have seen the value of the Civil Service and the thousands of dedicated people who work across the country and departments delivering for millions of citizens. I’ve been rightly proud of what HMRC has achieved this year and I am looking forward to seeing how other departments have responded to the pandemic and the challenges it has brought, and recognising the immense successes made by individuals and teams.”
- Jim Harra, Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive of HM Revenue and Customs, and Commercial Category Champion

"I am incredibly proud of and impressed by the level of government communications over the past year, and am very much looking forward to seeing the nominations for The Communication Award. This year, we are inviting video submissions for this category, which I hope will encourage and inspire government communicators to think differently about their work, and approach the nomination with innovation and enthusiasm. Communicating effectively both internally and externally is hugely important, ensuring our messages are presented in a clear and engaging manner, whether our audience is our own colleagues, other government departments, or the wider public. I will be looking for nominations that demonstrate a measurable impact for the public, and I look forward to being reminded of the truly excellent work that has been delivered in government communications this year."
- Alex Aiken, Executive Director of the Government Communication Service, and Communication Category Champion

"2020 has been the Civil Service Year of Inclusion, and I am very pleased to be the Diversity and Inclusion Category Champion. Some great progress has been made this year, which I look forward to building on in the months and years ahead. This category will be made up of the winners from the D&I Awards in December, and I look forward to sharing their excellent work with you all at the virtual CS Awards ceremony in February."
- Alex Chisholm, Civil Service Chief Operating Officer and Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary, and Diversity & Inclusion Category Champion

"For The Developing People Award, we are looking for teams and individuals who contribute to making the Civil Service a brilliant place to work through their contributions to learning, skills development, strengthening capability and talent management. We want to hear about those who have made a real difference through their exceptional contribution to their team, wider unit, department or the whole Civil Service, their innovative approach and their "best-in-class" practice. So I hope we will all take the time to nominate those teams and individuals who have inspired us and show them how much we value what they are doing."
- Elizabeth Gardiner, First Parliamentary Counsel and Permanent Secretary of the Government in Parliament Group in the Cabinet Office, and Developing People Category Champion

"As we reform the Civil Service, we need even more than before to harness developments in digital technologies to enhance policy making and delivery, driving better outcomes for the citizens we serve. I'm looking forward to seeing some exciting nominations this year!"
- Sarah Healey, Permanent Secretary for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Digital, Data & Technology Category Champion

“The importance of health and wellbeing has never been more in the spotlight than now, as we work together to fight COVID-19. To deliver the outcomes we aspire to as a great Civil Service, we must prioritise health and wellbeing both within the workplace and beyond. To do our best we need to be at our best. I'm looking forward to seeing an excellent set of nominations for the Civil Service Health & Wellbeing Award and I hope to find innovative approaches that we can recognise and share as best practice."
- Madeleine Alessandri, Permanent Secretary of the Northern Ireland Office, and Health & Wellbeing Category Champion

"What is an inspirational leader? With The Inspirational Leadership Award, we are looking for more than a good manager. An inspirational leader is someone who does just that - inspires. They bring the best out of their teams, they share their enthusiasm with those around them, they create measurable improvements, they care about their teams as people as well as colleagues, they make sure everyone is supported, included, and engaged in their day-to-day. This is not necessarily someone who manages a large team or a whole department; irrespective of grade, anyone can be an inspirational leader. We are relying on you to help us find them."
- Dame Shan Morgan, Permanent Secretary of the Welsh Government, and Inspirational Leadership Category Champion

“During the pandemic we have seen colleagues across the Civil Service going to extraordinary lengths to give outstanding service to our citizens. This year I am honoured to be champion for The Public Service Award to celebrate and recognise these colleagues. I am particularly keen to receive nominations for people who go the extra mile, who have established strong partnerships within or beyond their organisation or who have changed the way we work to enable vital services to continue to operate.”
- Peter Schofield, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, and Public Service Category Champion

“The last year has truly demonstrated how the Civil Service steps up in a crisis. The energy and focus displayed by colleagues as we’ve come together to meet the challenge of coronavirus has been truly inspiring. This is the commitment that many colleagues demonstrate in the wide range of crises and emergencies that face the Civil Service. This category rightfully recognises teams or individuals who have demonstrated excellence in crisis management, contingency planning and major incident response. I look forward to reading your entries.”
- Tamara Finkelstein, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Resilience & Rapid Response Category Champion

"The Rising Star Award celebrates the talent, skills, passion and ambition of our colleagues across the Civil Service. We are looking for someone who has made significant achievements during the early stages of their Civil Service career, shows the potential to succeed as a future leader, and embodies the Civil Service values of Honesty, Integrity, Impartiality and Objectivity. We want to recognise the emerging talent as we build an outstanding Civil Service.”
- Antonia Romeo, Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Trade, and Rising Star Category Champion

"This has been an extraordinary year for science. Framed by the environment of COVID-19, civil servants have ensured a strong, evidence-based foundation for all decisions, with science at the forefront of policy-making and guidance. The lessons we have learned this year are not limited to scientific policy, but transferable across government, and serve to emphasise the continued importance of well-researched and well-supported reasoning behind all our decisions as a Civil Service. I am looking forward to hearing about the excellent work that has gone on across departments and celebrating your successes."
- Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Science and Engineering Profession, and Science Category Champion