2019 Winners

Congratulations to all the 2019 winners.

Over the past 25 years, Mairi has worked tirelessly to improve and support the services provided for disabled people and the caring community of the Western Isles.

With enthusiasm, energy, determination and commitment, she has campaigned for the most vulnerable in the community, who are often unable to voice their needs and concerns. To get the job done, she secures funding, resources and help at the point of need. She has secured tens of thousands of pounds in funding over the years, and in addition has worked unstintingly to support, challenge and raise awareness for her causes.

Research shows that ex-offenders who are homeless or in temporary accommodation are more likely to reoffend within a year than those with a stable place to live (79% vs 47%), while 36% of people seen rough sleeping in London, whose institutional history was known, had experience of prison.

Leeds, Pentonville and Bristol prisons have been chosen to spearhead the £6 million Offender Accommodation pilot programme, helping vulnerable ex-prisoners find and stay in stable accommodation. The pilot will provide dedicated funding to offer stable accommodation for up to two years, alongside tailored support to help prisoners integrate into communities for the long term and address their specific criminogenic needs.

The pilot forms part of the Government’s £100 million Rough Sleeping Strategy, announced in the Summer of 2018. The pilot will contribute to the Government’s manifesto commitment to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it completely by 2027. It is being delivered in partnership by MHCLG and MoJ, demonstrating the benefit of jointly working on agendas which meet the needs of the most vulnerable in society. The sites are piloting a new partnership approach between prisons, local authorities, probation staff and charities, working together to provide support to prisoners when they are released.

The Voluntary Pricing and Access Scheme (VPAS) negotiating team was led by Steve Oldfield at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and consisted of a joint team of colleagues from DHSC, NHSE and the Complex Transactions Team (CTT) in the Cabinet Office.

The team delivered a market-leading deal to accelerate the uptake of new innovative medicines to NHS patients, up to six months earlier and within an affordable financial envelope. The voluntary scheme is designed to keep growth in the branded medicine bill predictable and affordable by placing a 2% cap per annum on the growth in sales of branded medicines to the NHS, over a five year period.

The savings from the drugs budget will be used to deliver more critical frontline services. This is a win for patients, a pre-Brexit win for the pharmaceutical industry and a cost reduction for tax payers.

The Welsh Government’s Superfast Cymru project invested over £200 million in building fibre broadband infrastructure across Wales. As a result, the majority of properties can now access superfast broadband. A public target was set by Ministers to reach 50% take-up of services of this new, publicly funded infrastructure by 2023.

To accelerate this aim, the Digital Infrastructure Communications Team planned and implemented an integrated communications campaign aimed at home users of broadband to make them aware of the technology available to them and the benefits of using it. The campaign ran from October 2016 to March 2019, underpinned by external market research and tracked through granular level take-up data.

In October 2016, take-up was at 28%. By March 2019, take-up was at 54%, exceeding the Ministerial target four years early. It is forecasted that funding saved through the Superfast Cymru grant agreement as a result of take-up levels can be reinvested in Wales. This communications campaign has been fundamental, not only to maximise the funding due back to Government but to ensure the citizens of Wales are aware of the technology available to them and its benefits.

Three years ago, there was only one 12-month internship in Whitehall offered to care leavers. This year, there are 100. Rob led the delivery of the Care Leaver Strategy and the subsequent Covenant, resulting in a commitment to 1,000 internships and employment opportunities at private sector companies within three years, and a huge expansion of the number of internships offered across Whitehall to care leavers.

HR’s Recruitment Team has been a vital player in making these opportunities available to young people leaving care. The boost in numbers was the result of a professional cross-Government campaign, managed by the team and run with zero budget, in addition to other business as usual.

Digital Customer Service (DCS) is the customer-focused way for British citizens to apply for a passport, with nearly five million applications now received. Replacing the complex, multi-section paper form and the accompanying 27-page guidance note, DCS is designed around users’ needs to make application easier, quicker and more accurate.

Process changes allow wholly-online applications with users signing their passport after receipt, removing the need to collect and complete a form or print one at home. DCS guides users through a simple process, asking only the questions relevant to the application. By enabling users to upload their own photographs, DCS removes another potential delay to the application process, and online identity verification makes it much easier for someone to confirm who you are.

On average, applications take less than 10 minutes to complete and user satisfaction rates regularly top 95%. Users can track their applications online and receive notifications by SMS or email at every stage. Because DCS helps HMPO to deliver processing savings, digital applications are £9.50 cheaper than paper ones. DCS was developed in-house by an HMPO-led team and continues to develop iteratively with a roadmap of change prioritised by data from the service and user feedback.

 The Bristol Race Network have made an outstanding contribution in championing HMRC’s ambition for a more inclusive workplace.
The cross-directorate Network commenced in January 2018 and has since played a pivotal role especially when recent racial incidents were reported in HMRC in Bristol. 
By engaging Network members it enabled the business contain the situation and avert damage to the Department’s reputation. The safe forum allowed discussion of common issues, provided advice and support from peers and offered insight to help senior leadership understand the issues. This was influenced and driven from our BAME members who were encouraged to speak openly about the challenges they were facing in the workplace because of their Race. 
Once the issues were understood, key members from the Network developed a proactive business plan incorporating a number of cross-directorate initiatives and worked in partnership with all lines of business to drive this forward. This  included  development and delivery of a groundbreaking bespoke workshop to raise Race awareness which gained high level interest and was made mandatory for all managers in Bristol; and a Reverse Mentoring Programme where 20 BAME staff and senior leaders worked together  to raise awareness about issues affecting BAME staff leading to  strong working relationships between BAME members of staff and senior leaders. 
By collaborating with senior stakeholders including amongst others CCG Director General, Regional Senior Leadership Group, HR Inclusion Team and D&I Networks, the Network used evidence-based stats and concerns to challenge race inequalities. This resulted in senior leaders changing local people management policies to help eliminate incidents of bullying, harassment or discrimination against BAME employees and to foster a more inclusive workplace.
In addition, the Network helped influence a high level change to communication lines between local  Race Networks and national tier resulting in  HMRC Regions now being represented on the national Race Steering Group facilitating cohesion and improved dissemination of news and resource across the networks.
A survey conducted by the Network a year after commencement shows increased engagement and optimism amongst BAME members. They feel better informed, more confident to speak up individually or collectively about their concerns and increased support from development opportunities and conversations they could not have imagined possible a year ago

The Cross Government Menopause Working Group (CGMWG) was established in 2017, responding to the lack of both consistent, good quality support available for women experiencing menopausal symptoms across the Civil Service, and advice for line managers to support health and wellbeing requirements on this issue.

The representation rate for women in the Civil Service is over 53%, however the Civil Service has an ageing workforce meaning that nearly eight out of 10 women are in the likely age bracket for experiencing menopause in the workplace. Symptoms can last around four to 12 years, with many women saying it has a negative impact on them at work, particularly concerning performance.

CGMWG is a well-established group with around 40 members reaching across around 30 cross-Government departments and agencies. Its objective is to share good practice to support the facilitation of difficult discussions with managers and their peers, on this still very much stigmatised subject. The group has sponsorship and endorsement by senior champions, enabling them to dynamically work across boundaries and geographical locations, elevating the Civil Service as ‘exemplar’ and leading the way on being a menopause-friendly employer.

The Troubled Families programme is one of the biggest social policy programmes in government. It is a £920 million programme, run across England in 149 upper-tier local authority areas and provides services to 400,000 families with multiple high-cost problems including worklessness, domestic abuse and ill health, amongst others.

This nomination highlights the impact evaluation undertaken this year, recognised as “one of the most complex ever attempted in social policy” and a “landmark study in terms of its methodological sophistication”. Impact evaluations such as this aren’t that common. A National Audit Office study reviewed 6,000 analytical reports by government and found only 5% were impact evaluations. Of these, only 2% were assessed as being of good quality, including a counterfactual or comparison group, and only 1% included a cost-benefit assessment.

The team was given a project brief to include all areas running the programme, an impact evaluation and cost-benefit analysis, and a counterfactual. As with all research projects, all of this had to be done within a very limited budget. The pioneering evaluation work undertaken by the team demonstrates that Government analysts can produce work just as high quality as other organisations and has demonstrated the success of this transformational programme.

Paula’s engaging leadership with a strong focus on inclusion demonstrates confidence far beyond her EO grade. She is naturally collaborative and hugely passionate about improving the provision of hearing for everyone, which inspires both those with, and without, hearing difficulties.

She joined the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Grade AA and led the first Deaf Awareness Event in 2012. At that time, she discovered that hearing provision was severely lacking, and since then has worked tirelessly to change it. She has drastically improved DSTL services to support the performance of DSTL people by driving their hearing network and ensuring excellent provision of hearing equipment.

Her confident leadership skills were clear when she spearheaded the first cross-Government hearing showcase at grade EO in 2018. At this event, Paula shared DSTL’s hearing provision, including the innovations and smarter working. Her engaging approach attracted a wide range of representatives across Government, with an audience of 70 people including the Defence Disability Network Chair.

The extremely positive feedback she received culminated in a letter of recognition from the Chair of the Civil Service and MOD Hearing Disability Networks. Paula has catapulted DSTL to being leaders in this area and enhanced the performance of many employees in the process.

The Marine and Fish EU Exit Programme deals with a range of highly complex day one and future policy/benefit realisation matters through seven component projects.

The team has worked hard to create an inclusive single team culture, whilst engaging with and leading policy and operational delivery colleagues to achieve day one readiness and benefits realisation beyond day one. The projects include a mix of agile and waterfall projects.

For those wishing to seek asylum within the UK, policy provides one location (Croydon) regardless of the customer’s whereabouts.

When this responsibility was initially transferred to UKVI at short notice, the National Asylum Intake Unit (NAIU) provided remote screening options from Solihull. Appointments were offered fortnightly, with a three- to four-month waiting period, creating a backlog for appointments, with the typical appointment lasting four to five hours. In August 2018, NAIU allocated responsibility for this service to its Midlands Intake Unit (MIU). Following a process review, MIU introduced customer service improvements that have seen appointments offered within seven days, removing the backlog, with the typical appointment lasting one hour.

Responding to feedback, MIU has introduced monthly appointments in Leeds and, utilising video conferencing, will soon be offering appointments in Cardiff. From May 2019, to prevent children encountered by police from attending a custody suite, MIU worked alongside Children’s Services to provide an avenue to asylum registration.

Blue Watch ARCC (Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre) HMCG responded to three incidents during 2018-2019: a 130-person evacuation operation from the Brent Charlie oil rig due to a loss of power and an approaching storm; support and information to HM Coastguard and the crew of cargo vessel Grade Tema in regaining control of the vessel from armed stowaways whilst in UK waters; and searching for a light aircraft that went missing over the English Channel, Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala among its passengers.

These operations demonstrate the value of UK ARCC Blue Watch’s frequent collaboration with agencies such as the Police, the MOD, the Home Office, Border Force, HMCG (Maritime) and others. Their activities are often high-pressure and time-sensitive and require coordinating numerous groups towards a shared goal.

Cindy joined the then-UKTI team in the British Embassy Seoul in June 2014. Since then, her unflappable commitment, common sense and tremendous appetite for learning have seen her recognised by DIT sector team colleagues as one of the best commercial officers in the network.

Cindy has been credited with almost £150 million in export wins, but it is her efforts to inspire others and her delight in celebrating their success which really sets her apart. She leveraged an incredible range of contacts to deliver one of the first mega-tech missions in the network in 2017, which was subsequently replicated elsewhere in the region.

Cindy has received a regional award for her work as NE Asia’s Champion for rolling out the High Value Campaign model and spent 18 months as Post’s L&D Champion, establishing a dedicated L&D room in the embassy and developing PDP training materials for post and the wider region. She is currently driving forward the creation of a new Gender Committee at Post. Her commitment to her own development has seen her take part in the Global Leadership Development Programme and complete an LSE course on Women in Economics in Peking University.