The team was tasked with producing analysis in the lead-up to the Scottish referendum of how both, Scotland and the rest of the UK, benefit from being part of one country.
The award, which is aimed at “an individual or team who deserves particular recognition for their outstanding achievement in making a difference on an issue of national significance”, was handed to the winners at the awards ceremony held on Wednesday, 19 November, at Lancaster House.
Cabinet Secretary and civil service head Sir Jeremy Heywood (centre) presented the award to team members (from right to left) Paul Doyle, Will MacFarlane, Shannon Cochrane, and Mario Pisani.
Pisani said: “In the Treasury, everyone hates you. We don't get thanks for anything. This is one occasion where we've worked with the rest of Whitehall.
"We all had something in common, we're trying to save the Union here, and it came so close. We just kept it by the skin of our teeth. I actually cried when the result came in. After 10 years in the civil service, my proudest moment is tonight and receiving this award.”
He added: “As civil servants you don't get involved in politics. For the first time in my life, suddenly we're part of a political campaign. We were doing everything from the analysis, to the advertising, to the communications. I just felt a massive sense of being part of the operation. This being recognised [at the Civil Service Awards], makes me feel just incredibly proud.”
Cochrane said: “we've learned that it is possible for civil servants to work on things that are inherently political and quite difficult, and you're very close to the line of what is appropriate, but it's possible to find your way through and to make a difference.”
And Doyle added: “This award is not just for the Treasury, it's for all the hard work that was done by all government departments on the Scotland agenda.
“The reality was in all my experience of the civil service, I have never seen the civil service pull together in the way they did behind supporting the UK government in maintaining the United Kingdom. It was a very special event for all of us.”
MacFarlane also gave credit to their Scottish Government counterparts, “in particular the government economic service there, who did their jobs for their ministers. I think over the currency debate in particular both governments put forward their economic analysis, which framed where their governments were coming from in the debate.”