Recognising and celebrating a brilliant Civil Service

Written by Darra Singh, OBE, Partner, Government & Public Sector Lead, EY on 5 October 2017

I love this time of year; for more than a decade this has been the season for celebration when we recognise and praise our world class public servants. Every year I am astounded by the showcase of outstanding work by individuals and teams who demonstrate integrity, diversity, innovation, energy, enthusiasm and the courage to lead. These values are the fundamental beliefs that underpin EY as an organisation and those that I believe are key drivers to ultimately improve public services for the benefit of citizens and wider society.

Each year we reflect on what a challenging time it is for civil servants, but I think few would argue that the environment in which you are currently operating is truly unprecedented. As the civil service undergoes fundamental shifts in its ways of working, such as adapting to use innovative technologies, it also continues to face increasing pressures on public services while also pursuing an unwavering commitment to diversity. In addition to this there is of course the UK’s departure from the European Union and the subsequent challenges this presents. These awards bring to the fore the excellent work being done by the individuals and teams who make up our world class civil service and celebrate the people behind the policies.

But you know all this!

In the last 11 years there have been more than 5,000 nominations – that’s a phenomenal number of entries. That’s more than 5,000 examples of outstanding work carried out by tens of thousands of public servants to deliver more than 5,000 efficiencies and innovations to people and communities. And all the while creating the best value and outcomes for UK citizens such as the 2014 Commercial Award winners, Project Thameslink and the 2011 Public Value Award winners, DVLA e-services.

But, more than this, previous winners have also actively maintained the UK’s prominence, relevance and importance on the global stage. The 2015 Communications Award was won for the Ebola Campaign, the 2013 Growth Award was won by the GREAT Britain Campaign teams from across government and the Olympic Award for teams was won by the Civilian Operations Olympic team.

While this is the time of year that we set aside to celebrate what a brilliant civil service we have, every day of the year the achievements, large or small, are making a difference for each and every one of us and that is something I am very proud to be a part of recognising. Shortly we will find out who has won the 2017 awards, but those individuals and teams are just a snapshot of some of the shining stars in the vast universe of our world class civil service. 

Darra Singh, OBE, Partner, Government & Public Sector Lead, EY