The Civil Service Awards judges review the shortlists and select the winners in each of the awards categories. The judging panel comprises the following senior figures:

Ahmed Azam

Ahmed works in Defra’s EU Strategy and Negotiations Team. He leads on one of Whitehall’s heaviest infraction workloads – legal action the European Commission takes for a Member State’s non-compliance of EU law, on agricultural and environmental State Aid (subsidies), and is the National Focal Point for a UN multilateral environmental treaty, most recently successfully leading the UK delegation to a 47 country negotiation.

Ahmed has undertaken a range of policy and operational roles in the Foreign Office, Home Office and what is now the Ministry of Justice, including PS/Home Secretary, Home Affairs Attaché to the Czech presidency of the EU, Senior Presenting Officer (advocate) representing the government in the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, and as the UK’s first Hajj Attaché to the British Hajj Delegation in Saudi Arabia. 
Ahmed was nominated by his Permanent Secretary to be Defra’s first representative on the Civil Service Shadow Board and recently won the Defra Permanent Secretary’s award in recognition of his team’s EU work.  

Ahmed takes social responsibility seriously which is why he is a serving Magistrate, school governor, and on the steering group of the Home Office Islamic Network. He is also active with local organisations working with a range of communities to improve governance, accountability and transparency. Finally, he loves to play badminton, table tennis, and squash.

Antonia Romeo

Antonia Romeo is Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Trade. She is also, until July 2017, Her Majesty’s Consul General in New York.

Previously, Antonia was Her Majesty’s Consul General in New York, and Director-General Economic and Commercial Affairs USA. In this role Antonia directed the trade, business and prosperity work of the UK Government across the United States, and led promotion of the UK’s economic profile, foreign policy, and national security priorities in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut’s Fairfield County.

Antonia began her career in the private sector, at strategy consultancy firm Oliver Wyman. She joined the Civil Service in 2000 as an economist. Her previous senior roles in Her Majesty’s Government include:

·         Special Envoy to the US technology companies

·         Director-General and Head of the Economic and Domestic Secretariat in the Cabinet Office, responsible for coordinating policy advice to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, and delivery of the PM’s top priorities

·         Director-General, Criminal Justice at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), responsible for all criminal justice policy and major programmes

·         Director-General, Transformation at MoJ, responsible for reform and savings programmes, strategy, Digital Services, communications, Group HR and Group estates

·         Executive Director, Enterprise and Reform at Cabinet Office, responsible for reforming the Government’s governance and Board model, working with businesses

·         Director of Policy at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

·         Principal Private Secretary to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice at MoJ

Antonia holds an MA (PPE) from Oxford University, an MSc (Economics) from the London School of Economics, and an Advanced Management Programme diploma from Columbia Business School. She is a member of the BritishAmerican Business International Advisory Board.

Richard Heaton CB

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.

Leslie Evans

Leslie Evans was appointed as Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government on July 1, 2015. In this role, Leslie is the principal policy adviser to the First Minister and Secretary to the Scottish Cabinet.

She is also the Principal Accountable Officer for the Scottish Government with personal responsibility for the propriety and regularity of Government finance and for economic, efficient and effective use of all related resources.

Leslie is the senior Civil Servant in Scotland and leads more than 5,000 civil servants working for the Scottish Government, supporting development, implementation and communication of government policies, in accordance with the Civil Service Code.

Leslie joined the Scottish Government in September 2000, having spent 20 years working for local authorities in Scotland (City of Edinburgh Council and Stirling Council) and England (London Borough of Greenwich and Sheffield City Council).

Her previous post within the Scottish Government was Director General Learning and Justice. Previous positions include Head of Local Government Constitution & Governance Division, Head of Public Service Reform Group, Head of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and Director of Culture, External Affairs and Tourism.

Married with one son, Leslie was born in Northern Ireland and has lived in Scotland since 1985. She attended High Storrs School in Sheffield and studied Music at the University of Liverpool.

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.

Sir Amyas Morse

Comptroller & Auditor General, National Audit Office.

Amyas was born in Edinburgh, and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. He led the Coopers & Lybrand practice in Scotland, before moving to London to manage the London City Office, and subsequently becoming the Executive Partner of the Coopers & Lybrand UK firm. When PricewaterhouseCoopers was formed, he took on global responsibilities, and served as Global Leader of the Assurance Practice (audit and related services), and then as Global Managing Partner (Operations).

Amyas joined the Ministry of Defence in July 2006 as the Defence Commercial Director. During his time as Commercial Director he was responsible for shaping the Department's relationship with industry, and he played a key role in the agreement of strategic commercial arrangements. More widely across government, he served as a member of the Major Projects Review Group, the Public Sector Board of CIPS, and on an NHS Project Board.

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.