Skilled, innovative, ambitious: new vision for 2021 Civil Service Awards

Annual awards get an overhaul, with new categories to align with Modern Civil Service vision
The 2018 awards winners

This year’s Civil Service Awards have opened for entries, with a fresh focus on projects that are skilled, innovative and ambitious to align with the Cabinet Office’s “vision” for the civil service.

Nine awards will be presented under the three categories, which form a key plank of the Modern Civil Service document published by the Cabinet Office in June. The document set out a vision for a civil service that invests in skills, champions expertise and creates opportunities to reflect the country it serves; finds new ways to solve problems and improve people’s lives, and makes good use of data and technology; and delivers excellence in project and public service delivery, while making it easy to collaborate and provide a seamless experience for the public.

For this year's awards, which are now in their 16th year and will be awarded in December, three gongs will be given under the “skilled” heading: the Excellence in Delivery Award, the Developing People Award and the Inclusivity Award.

Under the “innovative” heading come the Best Use of Data and Technology Award, the Science and Innovation Award and the Evaluation and Analysis Award.

And the “ambitious” title covers the Programme Management Award, the Productive Partnerships Award and the One Civil Service Award.

Only the Developing People Award has returned unchanged from last year’s lineup, which included categories specifically recognising excellence in communication, inspirational leadership, commercial and policy and the use of evidence, among other things.

Outside the three core categories, the Rising Star Award will make a return for this year’s ceremony, recognising high achievers in the first five years of their civil service careers.

And three further awards this year: the Cabinet Secretary’s Outstanding Leader Award, for officials who have demonstrated outstanding leadership; the; the Programme of the Year Award; and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

You can submit a nomination here.

Entries for all of the categories will also be assessed under core criteria – that the project or programme achieves measurable benefits; that it goes above and beyond the nominee’s normal job; that the nominees meet the civil service values of honesty, integrity, impartiality and objectivity; and that they have made an impact beyond their immediate team, business area or department.

Opening the nominations, the awards panel said the annual event has “helped to spread best practice right across government, sharing innovation, learning and leadership” since launching for the first time 16 years ago.

“In 2020, the civil service saw extraordinary commitment and creativity in responding to unprecedented changes in the way we work, with civil servants going to unparalleled lengths to deliver the public services the country so vitally needed. These efforts were recognised across all categories in last year’s awards, and we look forward to recognising yet more brilliant work this year,” the team said.

Nominations are now open and will close on 8 September. For further information and to submit nominations, click here.

Read the most recent articles written by Beckie Smith - Government is a ‘tough environment for digital projects’, admit top officials

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