Led by Sir Richard Heaton, the overarching awards champion, the moderating panel review the shortlists and select the winners in each of the awards categories. This final judging panel comprises of the following senior figures:

Sir Richard Heaton KCB

Prior to becoming Permanent Secretary for MoJ, Richard was the Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office (from August 2012). He was also First Parliamentary Counsel (from February 2012).

Richard’s previous role was as Director General for the government’s policy on pensions and ageing society at Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Before that, he worked in legal teams across government, focussing particularly on criminal law, the constitution and human rights law.

He has been the chief lawyer at DWP, Department of Health (DH) and MoJ. He joined the civil service as a legal adviser at the Home Office in 1991.

Richard lives in Southwark, London, where he is chair of a local charity. He is also the civil service champion for race equality.

Karen Blackett OBE

Karen has been in media for 22 years and is currently Chairwoman of MediaCom, the largest media agency in the UK with billings over £1 billion. Prior to this Karen was CEO for 5 years.

Karen has been instrumental not only in the success of MediaCom, but in championing diversity throughout the advertising and media industry. In 2012 Karen launched the first ever Government backed Apprentice Scheme for the sector, where the apprentices qualify for an NVQ in Marketing and Communications.

In June 2014, Karen received an OBE in the Queen's Birthday honours and in 2015 Karen was the first business woman to be named Britain’s Most Influential Black person in the Power List.

In 2015 Karen was appointed as one of four external advisors to help diversify the Civil Service, and as a DIT (Department for International Trade) Business Ambassador for No 10. Karen is also a Non-Exec for Creative England whose focus is to support new and emerging talent in the Creative Industry helping grow the UK Economy and a Council member of the Creative Industries Federation. In March 2016 Karen became the President of NABS, the advertising industry charity which focuses on health and wellbeing in the workplace and presenting the business case for Diversity.

Karen is also taking over from Sandi Toksvig as Chancellor of Portsmouth University as of September 2017.

Suzannah Brecknell

Suzannah joined Civil Service World in 2010, as the general election gave way to a period of significant corporate and policy reform for the civil service. She has taken the lead role in researching and producing many of CSW’s ground-breaking Special Reports, and has particular interests in questions of accountability, diversity and new service delivery methods.

Suzannah has an MA in journalism from the London College of Communication, and a track record of editing magazines on public services management – including schools title Education Executive, and healthcare publication Practice Business.

Gareth Davies

Gareth Davies was appointed C&AG on 1 June 2019. Before his appointment as C&AG, he was Head of Public Services at Mazars, a global accountancy firm specialising in audit, tax and advisory services. Prior to this, he was managing director of the Audit Commission’s Audit Practice. He’s also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Mohamed Elmugadam

Mohamed Elmugadam is a Senior Probation Officer. He joined Humberside Probation as a Drug Treatment Officer in 2002. He has worked in various community and custodial settings both as a practitioner and as a manager.

Mohamed is currently seconded to HMPPS Performance Directorate working as part of the Service Improvement Group. His work has supported several national projects such as the Probation Reform Programme, Improving Services for those with Learning Disabilities and Challenges (LDC), and investigating the impact of County Lines within the Youth Secure Estate.

Mohamed is passionate and committed to improving services for service users and for HMPPS staff. He is championing service users’ involvement in national initiatives. He has recently led service users’ involvement in HMPPS 2019 Innovation Award selection.

Mohamed is a MOJ representative at the Civil Service Shadow Board. He provides valuable views regarding civil services policies and procedures.

Mohamed is a father of two boys, a football and boxing fan. He enjoys fitness, meeting new people and learning new skills. Mohamed believes that people can do amazing things given the right opportunities and support.

Sue Gray

Sue transferred from the Cabinet Office to take up the role of Permanent Secretary in the Department of Finance in May 2018. The Department of Finance is responsible for managing the public expenditure of NICS departments and supporting the appropriate allocation of the funding available from HM Treasury. It also provides a range of corporate services to NICS Departments, including HR, finance, ICT, legal and statistical services, accommodation and estate management. 

Sue’s previous role was Director General of Propriety and Ethics and the Private Office Group where her responsibilities included policy and advice on standards and ethics issues, including the Ministerial, Civil Service and Special Advisers Codes of Conduct. Additionally, Sue was responsible for Public Appointments and Honours, and Freedom of Information policy.

Before joining the Cabinet Office, Sue worked in Transport, Health and DWP covering a range of roles, which included both policy and front line delivery.

Bernadette Kelly

Bernadette Kelly became Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport on 18 April 2017.

From September 2015 to April 2017, Bernadette Kelly was Director General, Rail Group in DfT. Prior to that she was a Director General at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) from April 2010.

Bernadette joined the Civil Service after graduating. She has spent most of her career working on public policy in relation to business and the economy. She has led work in government to reform the planning regime for major infrastructure; boost housing supply; establish the Competition and Markets Authority; strengthen utility regulation; reform corporate governance; and on industrial strategy and local growth and devolution.

In addition to DfT and BIS, Bernadette has worked in the Department for Communities and Local Government, HM Treasury, the Cabinet Office and the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit; as well as on secondment to ICI plc.

Bernadette was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 2010.

Darra Singh OBE

Darra Singh leads EY’s Government and Public Sector practice in the UK.

EY’s UK Government and Public Sector team advises local authorities, government departments, the NHS and other public bodies on how they can improve their services and deliver greater value for money.

Darra has led EY’s Local and Public Services team, which focuses on local authorities, since October 2014 and has over 30 years’ experience working with clients across the public and voluntary sectors. Prior to joining EY, Darra was chief executive at Job Centre Plus as well as Ealing and Luton Councils. He chaired the government-appointed Communities and Victims Panel, which investigated the causes of the London riots in 2011, and was also appointed as Chair of the Independent Commission on Local Government Finance in 2015.