Heaton hails Civil Service Award recipients as he launches ‘week of winners’

Awards champion hails work of civil servants at start of a week-long programme to recognise winners

Richard Heaton speaking at the awards. Photo: CSW

By Richard Johnstone

21 Jan 2020

Ministry of Justice permanent secretary Sir Richard Heaton has praised civil servants for “working at pace for ministers, thinking creatively and differently, and improving public services for the people in this country” as he launched a week of events to celebrate the 2019 Civil Service Award winners.

Heaton, who is the Civil Service Awards champion, said that the winners across 15 categories represented “the very best of the civil service in all of its diversity and in every part of the United Kingdom”.

The awards were handed out at an event in London on 21 November, but due to restrictions on civil service communications during the pre-election period, the roster of recipients was not widely promoted.

Heaton said that this week the civil service would “take the chance to give our amazing winners a bit of the publicity that they deserve”.


The civil service will promote a series of blogs, videos and tweets this week about “what they have done and how they did it”, said Heaton. “I think you will enjoy reading about some inspiring colleagues and some incredible teams. and you will hear civils servants talk with pride about solving problems, helping other people, and getting things done”. Civil Service World will also this week be publishing a podcast recorded at the awards telling the story of the nominees for one of the new awards for 2019 – the Public Service Award – and hear reaction from the victorious Home Office Midlands Intake Unit after they won.

The full list of winners of the awards is:

The Citizenship Award: Mairi MacNeil. Over the past 25 years, Mairi has worked tirelessly to improve and support the services provided for disabled people and the caring community of the Western Isles.

The Collaboration Award: Offender Accommodation Pilot Project. This scheme helping vulnerable ex-prisoners find and stay in stable accommodation

The Commercial Award: Voluntary Pricing and Access Scheme negotiating team. The team delivered a market-leading deal to accelerate the uptake of new innovative medicines to NHS patients.

The Communication & Engagement Award: Welsh Government’s Digital Infrastructure Communications Team. This team planned and implemented an communications campaign aimed at home users of broadband to make them aware of the technology available to them and the benefits of using it.

The Developing People Award: Rob Macpherson and HR’s Recruitment Team. Macpherson and colleagues led the development of the Care Leaver Strategy and the subsequent Covenant, resulting in a huge expansion of the number of internships offered across Whitehall to care leavers.

The Digital Award: Digital Customer Service - HM Passport Office. The team replaced a complex, multi-section paper form with an online application designed around users’ needs to make application easier, quicker and more accurate.

The Diversity & Inclusion Award: Bristol Race Network. The Bristol Race Network have made an outstanding contribution in championing HMRC’s ambition for a more inclusive workplace.

The Health & Wellbeing Award: Cross Government Menopause Working Group: The group  was established in 2017, responding to the lack of both consistent, good quality support available for women experiencing menopausal symptoms across the civil service to provide advice for line managers.

The Innovation & Science Award: Troubled Families Evaluation and Policy Team. The team undertook “one of the most complex ever attempted in social policy” and a “landmark study in terms of its methodological sophistication” to measure the impact of the £920m programme

The Inspirational Leadership Award: Paula Holbrook-Witt. Paula’s engaging leadership with a strong focus on inclusion demonstrates confidence far beyond her EO grade. She is naturally collaborative and hugely passionate about improving the provision of hearing for everyone, which inspires both those with, and without, hearing difficulties.

The Policy & Use of Evidence Award: Ellen Lynch, Connie Smith, Guy McGivern, Karen MacNee (Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest), Scottish Government. The team is implementing a national OHCA strategy, bringing together an unprecedented collaboration of all Scotland’s emergency services, Scottish Government, third sector, NHS and academia.

The Project Delivery Excellence Award: Marine & Fish EU Exit Programme Team. The programme deals with a range of highly complex day one and future policy/benefit realisation matters relating from Brexit through seven projects.

The Public Service Award: Midlands Intake Unit. The unit set up a remote screening options for asylum seekers, providing more frequent appointments to remove a backlog of assessments.

The Resilience & Rapid Response Award: Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre Blue Watch. Blue Watch ARCC (Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre) HMCG responded to three incidents during 2018-2019: a 130-person evacuation operation from the Brent Charlie oil rig due to a loss of power and an approaching storm; support and information to HM Coastguard and the crew of cargo vessel Grade Tema in regaining control of the vessel from armed stowaways whilst in UK waters; and searching for a light aircraft that went missing over the English Channel, Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala among its passengers. These operations demonstrate the value of UK ARCC Blue Watch’s frequent collaboration with agencies such as the Police, the MoD, the Home Office, Border Force, HMCG (Maritime) and others.

The Rising Star Award: Cindy Kim. Cindy joined the then-UKTI team in the British Embassy Seoul in June 2014. Since then, her unflappable commitment, common sense and tremendous appetite for learning have seen her recognised by DIT sector team colleagues as one of the best commercial officers in the network.

Heaton urged civil servants to be considering the nominees for this year’s round of awards.

“As you learn about last year’s winners, maybe you’d like to think about who you’d like to nominate in 2020. We will be publishing the categories for this year’s in March, and we’ll open nominations in May. I’m confident that this year’s awards season will again celebrate the service working at pace for ministers, thinking creatively and differently underproving public services for the people in this country – the consumers and the business, the venerable and the disadvantaged, the families and all the communities, so thanks once again and a huge congratulations to all of our winners.”

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