Digital professionals and projects recognised at Civil Service Awards

GOV.UK Notify, DVSA’s MOT Reminders and the Ministry of Justice were among those to take home gongs

A range of government technology professionals were recognised at the 14th annual Civil Service Awards last week.

A total of 45 shortlisted teams and individuals attended the event – which is organised by PublicTechnology parent company Dods – at Lancaster House in central London.

One of the 15 awards that were presented on the night was the Digital Award, which was won by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s MoT reminder Service. More than a million drivers have already registered to receive reminders via the service, which was developed by the DVSA in partnership with Belfast-based software firm Kainos.

Alex Fiddes, DVSA programme delivery executive, said: “I’m so proud we’ve won such a prestigious award.  We’ve been developing Get MOT reminders since November 2017 and have recently had our 1.3 millionth sign up. Our MOT history service has also been very successful with the added advantage of being able to check for recalls on a vehicle.”

He added: “Now we’ve extended the service to include buses, lorries and smaller commercial vehicles so we can make sure that all drivers keep safe on Britain’s roads. Our partnership with Kainos has made this possible by bringing the service to life.”

The Government Digital Service team that developed the GOV.UK Notify system also took home a gong, after scooping the the Dame Leslie Strathie Operational Excellence Award.

The Innovation Award was won by the team behind the Going Forward into Employment project, which aims to match ex-offenders with potential jobs in the civil service. The scheme is jointly run by the Ministry of Justice and the Cabinet Office.

The MoJ was also garlanded with the Communication Award for a drive to hire prison officers that developed “a new recruitment campaign approach, based on data and insight”.

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The Diversity & Inclusion Award, meanwhile, was won by Charlotte Dring, a civil servant at the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, who has developed the Cross Government Social Mobility Network from zero to 130 members and 10 departmental networks in just over a year. 

This award was presented by Suzanne Heywood, the wife of Sir Jeremy Heywood, who died from cancer earlier this month, shortly after retiring from his role from his role as cabinet secretary and head of the civil service. 

Suzanne Heywood, whose words came among many tributes paid to the late cabinet secretary during the event, said the awards are a very important part of what Jeremy wanted to do for the civil service.

“Diversity and inclusion was something that Jeremy cared very deeply about. It was one of three priorities he chose when he became head of the civil service in 2014 – he narrowed down a very long list and this was one of the things that he really cared about,” she said. 

“When he prioritised diversity, what he wanted to do was not just put more women in senior roles, which is important, but he wanted to prioritise diversity in all of its different forms – so this includes have black and ethnic minority civil servants, disabled civil servants, having people from very different background and very different beliefs, with very different ways of thinking in the civil service.”

This would ensure the civil service represented the people that it serves, she said.

“He believed that although the civil service is never able to offer the highest salary, it could be the employer that thought hardest and most creatively about how to develop and retain the most diverse workforce possible, and really focusing on some of the people from under-represented groups,” Suzanne Heywood said. “This award was a big part of this vision for him, and I’m delighted that it is going to continue, and I’m sure he would be as well.

“I think the best way we can celebrate his memory is to continue to support the things that he believed in.”

Further coverage of the awards is available of PublicTechnology sister title Civil Service World, including a full list of winners here.

Sam Trendall

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