Tech and data teams win Civil Service Awards
Digital and data units from HMPO and the DfT are among the winners
Digital teams in HM Passport Office and statistics and data experts in the Department for transport are among the recipients of 2021’s Civil Service Awards.
Half of the latest crop of awards acknowledged different contributions to the UK’s pandemic response – with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy picking up three accolades connected with the vaccination drive.
But the Civil Service Awards 2021 also acknowledge that responding to Covid-19 has been just one part of departments’ work in recent months, and plenty of non-pandemic excellence has also received the recognition it deserves.
The Digital Application Processing service developed by HMPO took home the Best Use of Data and Technology award. The platform, which includes an increased use of automated processes, was developed by the office’s in-house teams. It is now used to process more than 70% of all passport applications.
The Evaluation and Analysis award went to teams from the DfT, which established partnerships with companies in the transport sector – as well as re-using existing government information sources – to help provide real-time data to the Prime Minister and Sage to help inform coronavirus response.
A number of gongs went to initiatives and agencies involved in the vaccine rollout.
The Vaccine Taskforce at BEIS picked up the Excellence in Delivery Award in recognition of its contribution to helping the UK become the first country in the world to approve the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines.
The category nomination for the Vaccine Taskforce said it had combined a range of delivery and technical expertise to manage the end-to-end lifecycle, from commercial contracting, logistics and delivery.
“This project truly epitomised excellence in delivery and demonstrated what the civil service can achieve through its innovation and collaboration,” the nomination said. “This project has set the blueprint for successful delivery.”
BEIS and the Department of Health and Social Care also picked up the Programme of the Year Award for the Covid-19 Vaccines Programme, delivered in partnership with the Vaccine Taskforce, NHS England, the UK Health Security Agency, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
Its nomination statement said the Vaccines Programme had saved at least 120,000 lives and prevented more than 230,000 hospitalisations and 24 million infections. “Uptake has exceeded all previous vaccination programmes and the pace and operational excellence of the programme have been globally recognised,” it said.
Category champions for the award included Cabinet Office perm sec and civil service chief operating officer Alex Chisholm.
Steve Glass, programme director for vaccines and antibodies at the Vaccine Taskforce, picked up the Cabinet Secretary’s Outstanding Leader Award for his “incredible leadership” of a dynamic and multidisciplinary team of civil servants, academics and industry experts “delivering a high-risk, hugely complex programme”.
Glass' nomination said he personified civil service values through his “unwavering commitment to serving the public and developing a spirit of resilient confidence in his teams”.
This year’s winners also include a team from the Welsh Government, who collected the Project Delivery Award for their Economic Recovery Fund; the cross-government Civil Service LGBT+ Network, which won the Developing and Supporting People Award for the Civil Service LGBT+ mentoring programme; and Andrew Jones, of HM Courts and Tribunals Service, who won the Rising Star Award.
The full list of winners is:
Excellence in Delivery Award: AstraZeneca/Pfizer Project Team, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Vaccine Taskforce)
Developing and Supporting People Award: Civil Service LGBT+ mentoring programme, cross-government
Diversity and Inclusion Award: Diversity and Inclusion Team, Department for Work and Pensions
Science and Innovation Award: SPI-M Secretariat, advisory body to the Department of Health and Social Care
Best Use of Data and Technology Award: HM Passport Office Digital Application Processing Project, Home Office (HM Passport Office)
Evaluation and Analysis Award: DFT Analyst and Data teams, Department for Transport
Project Delivery Award: Economic Resilience Fund, Welsh Government
One Civil Service Award: Covid-19 Oxygen, Ventilation, Medical Devices and Clinical Consumables Programme, Department of Health and Social Care
Productive Partnerships Award: Energise Africa, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
Rising Star Award: Andrew Jones, HM Courts and Tribunals Service
Programme of the Year Award: The Vaccines Programme, Department of Health and Social Care/Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Cabinet Secretary’s Outstanding Leader Award: Steve Glass, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
The Lifetime Achievement Award: David Gott, Department for Transport; Jacqeuline Byrne, Department for Education; Dr Jo Gillespie, Department for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing; John O'Hagan, Department of Health and Social Care; Robert Buckley, Home Office (Border Force); and Sharon Cardwell, HM Revenue and Customs
The Prime Minister’s Award for Exceptional Public Service: Rizwan Ahmad, Department for Work and Pensions
More information about the Civil Service Awards 2021 winners and shortlisted entries can be viewed here.
A reminder of the shocks, scandals and success stories that shaped the world of government technology in 2022
Parliament signs off abolishment of technology unit and transfer of duties and data sets to overarching national body
Senior positions offer potential six-figure salaries
Leaders from two of government’s core digital and data units – the CDDO and CDEI – introduce new guidelines intended to promote transparency in the public sector’s use of algorithms