Congratulations to all of last year’s winners!
Working with local communities in Liverpool, Sarah supports homeless people, assists with food banks, and works to eliminate period poverty. She encourages her work colleagues to recognise the hardships faced by vulnerable citizens, organises charity drives, and enables colleagues to assist in their communities. Sarah has worked alongside local councillors, gaining valuable insight into the economic pressures they face, particularly during the pandemic. This insight guaranteed she focused her efforts where need was greatest. Sarah is fully committed to enhancing quality of life for all and works tirelessly to ensure everyone can live the best life possible.
On the 22 March 2020, the government introduced new shielding health guidance and a support offer to help protect the people most vulnerable to COVID-19. What made this task truly remarkable was not only the scale and pace of the programme, but the unprecedented collaboration across MHCLG, DHSC, NHSE, NHSD, GDS, DEFRA, DWP, CO, local government and local delivery partners. Over four months, 2.2 million people were contacted by the programme, 1.2 million signed up to the website, and 4.7 million food boxes were delivered to over 500,000 people, with every department pulling together to help protect people's health.
To support DHSC and NHSE&I during the COVID-19 crisis, the Complex Transactions Team (CTT) enabled the delivery of 15,154 ventilators designed and built within 4.5 months, operationalisation of testing from a daily testing capacity of 3,000 to 100,000 in six weeks, and 32 billion items of PPE equipment. This was achieved by deploying 57 commercial specialists to all COVID-19 cells (Ventilation, Testing, Nightingale Hospitals and PPE) and the Civil Contingencies Secretariat. The team took a leadership role in delivering the commercial arrangements to secure supplies and services, working at rapid pace under highly pressurised conditions.
This nomination is to recognise DVLA's work to tackle vehicle tax evasion. The agency has a long-term strategy to keep vehicle tax evasion low, and uses a wide range of prevention and enforcement measures to remind motorists of their legal duties to pay vehicle tax on time. Using an evidence-based approach, DVLA planned and delivered a fully integrated behaviour change communications campaign at the start of 2020 using communications targeted to the highest evasion areas in the UK.
How can we become the most inclusive employer by 2020? By designing an inclusive resourcing process focusing on equity of opportunity for all applicants, regardless of their social or educational background. The Civil Service recruitment principles encourage this type of approach but apprenticeship schemes typically follow a traditional selection route. Removing minimum entry requirements, targeting marginalised candidates, linking with local authorities and schools, holding outreach events, running a social media campaign, outlining the selection process at an open day and partnering with the department’s Social, Economic Diversity and Inclusion Network, the team delivered an apprentice cohort which reflects the Civil Service’s desire to be the most inclusive employer.
The Get your State Pension (GySP) digital service has transformed the way citizens claim their state pension. Developed in 2018, within two years it has progressed from being a mainly form-based service to become the first benefit which can award and pay the customer without any agent intervention, in a process called Citizen Straight Through Processing (CSTP). In 2018, 25% of customers invited to claim their state pension did so online. Today, that figure is 75%. Over 60% of customers are now paid using CSTP. Through collaborative working across departmental boundaries, the customer experience has been transformed in a positive way.
Campaign and Projects, Leeds, is a new office of over 400 people from a diverse range of backgrounds. The Diversity & Inclusion Group was formed by 11 volunteers who aim to ensure that staff recognise everyone’s individuality, with different values, skills and ways of thinking. They promote the benefits these differences bring to HMRC, and raise awareness of a range of topics; in the last year, the group has delivered over 30 awareness campaigns. Their ‘Time to Talk Day’ events promoted better understanding of mental health, and for Inclusion Week, the group organised engagement workshops such as exploring identities and ‘speed-inclusion’. Recognising the potential wellbeing impact of working from home due to COVID-19, the group developed online weekly group tasks to promote inclusion, bring teams together and combat feelings of isolation.
Gillian demonstrates extraordinary commitment, courage and compassion in raising greater awareness of eating disorders, an issue often stigmatised and overlooked. At BEIS, she collaborated with colleagues to form the first Eating Disorder Support Group across the Civil Service and has continued to raise awareness at the FCDO. She has spearheaded work to highlight how eating disorders may present in the workplace and how we can be more inclusive, providing clear constructive advice on eating disorders, body image and diet culture. Colleagues have welcomed Gillian's empathetic approach, creating spaces for colleagues to share, connect and learn about this difficult, emotional issue.
The Home Office's ACE team solve public safety challenges from data and digital technology, at the pace demanded by a fast-changing world. ACE challenged conventional problem-solving, introducing agile, collaborative ways of working that accelerate solution-finding from years to months or weeks. This imaginative, entrepreneurial team found a new, cost-effective way to drive start-ups, SMEs, the not-for-profit sector and academia to bring cutting-edge expertise to bear on these challenges. The team won the Institute for Collaborative Working's 2019 innovation award, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology cited ACE as an effective model which should be replicated across government.
Chris Atkinson led work to establish a scheme for payments to recognise and support those seriously injured through no fault of their own during the troubles in Northern Ireland (NI). For years it seemed impossible to get agreement for this scheme. Chris's passion for making a difference to the lives of these vulnerable people is commendable. In putting people at the heart of his approach, he pitched a way forward focused on practical action and a sensitive framework for managing political differences.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) secretariat delivers scientific advice to decision-makers during emergencies. Co-chaired by Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, and Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, SAGE first met in January to discuss an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan. The secretariat has since delivered over 60 meetings and released 400 papers, convening hundreds of experts and leading specialists from the UK's diverse scientific community to provide timely, impactful advice to the Cabinet. The secretariat has championed independence, proactivity and transparency, welcomed challenges, and provided an authoritative, unified voice to inform the UK's response.
The project to replace DWP's benefit systems within the UK's National Critical Infrastructure was the biggest in Europe. As well as these systems being old, replacement of the systems was necessary to enable future welfare policy changes to be implemented. This was undertaken as an in-house exercise between DWP Digital and Service Planning and Delivery colleagues, requiring precision in planning and execution with zero disruption to DWP benefit operations. The latest system, Jobseekers Allowance, was to be replaced in the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcomes achieved have been independently recognised by Internal Audit and Senior Officials.
HMRC and HMT delivered HMG's flagship economic interventions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and protect businesses and jobs. CJRS (or the furlough scheme) has helped employers pay the wages of nine million people across the UK - over a quarter of the workforce. Over 2.7 million people have been supported by the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), and hundreds of thousands of businesses have been supported, including through Eat Out To Help Out (EOHO). These schemes have all been delivered as a partnership between experts from HMT and HMRC, who have operated as a single virtual team. They have been delivered successfully at a rapid pace.
Nominated for the Health Tech Awards 2020, the Isolation Note is an example of Civil Service collaboration at its best. The Isolation Note was introduced at the start of the pandemic as a digital means by which individuals can certify absence from work for COVID-19 reasons via NHS111 Online, and is pragmatic, creative and flexible solution to mitigate complications arising from COVID-19 for citizens, GPs, employers and benefit claimants. Available UK-wide, more than 2 million Isolation Notes have been issued (correct as of December 2020) and the system has been adapted and adjusted to reflect the latest requirements and guidance from the Government. The Isolation Note's introduction has empowered citizens; protected GP clinical time; safeguarded access to and payment of benefits; and given needed reassurance to employers and employees. The initiative has also provided valuable lessons and acted as a springboard for future government improvements around certification requirements.
Abigail has passion and commitment to public service and has made a significant impact to communities, dedicating her career to supporting marginalised and minority communities and amplifying their voices. She has worked with the Grenfell community, and supported children being brought safely to the UK from Calais and is currently working in MHCLG engaging with faith and BAME communities following COVID-19. Abigail has been instrumental in leading on race in the Civil Service and enabled uncomfortable conversations to happen, in order to create an inclusive, safe and accountable culture particularly with the Black community with the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on minority ethnic people and the witnessing of the death of George Floyd and many others.
The International Travel Risk assessment team engaged in cross-disciplinary science, working with Public Health England (PHE) to develop innovative models to inform the UK government on the risk of entry of SARS-CoV-2 to the UK via international travel. Delivering at pace, the team provided robust results that fed into policy discussions, identifying countries from which the risks are highest and alternative health measures to 14-day self-isolation. The team stepped outside their scientific comfort zone and displayed fantastic teamwork in order to aid PHE at this demanding time.