Diversity champion and Foreign Office permanent secretary Simon Fraser introduced the awards, which featured six categories, in a ceremony held at the Ministry of Justice headquarters.
Opening the ceremony, Fraser said that the awards, now in their eighth year, have attracted 153 nominations: a 74% increase compared to last year.
The Employee Network Award went to the Women’s Network at the Environment Agency. Paula Haines, co-lead of the network, said that since its creation four years ago the proportion of women in managerial roles has increased from 25% to 35%.
“We are really pleased with this award,” Haines said. “It’s fantastic. We really didn’t expect it.”
Keela Shackell-Smith, the network’s other co-lead, said that its membership had grown from around a dozen when it was set up to 1,438 women today. “Our membership also includes 135 men, who we refer to as ‘friends of the network’. This is about how men can support women and raise their confidence by for example encouraging them to speak up in meetings,” Shackell-Smith said.
The Inclusive Employment Award went to Nita Gajiparia, projects and diversity manager at the Judicial Office at the MoJ, who got around 80 senior judges to take part in a community outreach programme. “I’m thrilled,” she said. “This award is an accomplishment for the whole judiciary.”
After accepting her award, Gajiparia was approached by a HMRC civil servant asking if she could give a talk on “progressing through the levels of the civil service,” Gajiparia told CSW. “She said I would be an inspiration to their staff.”
The Disability Confident Campaign team at the Department for Work and Pensions took home the Excellence in Service or Business Delivery Award. The eight-strong team secured the collaboration of 1,100 private and public sector organisations, and managed to make ‘#disabilityconfident’ the UK’s top trending hashtag on Twitter.
Other winners included Sharon Drewell, who won the Leading, Championing, and Role Modelling Award. She works in the HM Prison Service on the Isle of Wight and was credited by the award judges for making a “massive difference to the management of transgender prisoners at HMP Isle of Wight and across the prison service.”
James Saville, director of HR at the Department for International Development, won the Champion of Disability Issues Award for his efforts to raise awareness of mental health across the department.
The judges were “impressed with the inspirational work and passion from the global mental health, anti-stigma campaign” led by Saville, which they described as a “catalyst to ignite a cultural change within Dfid on mental health stigma.”
The Understanding and Engaging with Communities Award was won by the Senior Citizen Liaison Team at the Home Office, which provided tailored crime prevention and victim support services for older adult members of all minority communities who may otherwise be excluded from statutory services.
This award was presented by former diversity champion Sir Paul Jenkins (pictured left with a member of the team and Fraser), who retired from the civil service earlier this year.