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Civil Service

Awards for ‘A Brilliant Civil Service’ – your monthly chance to shine

Jeremy Heywood at CS Live London 2015
Jeremy Heywood

To support the governments of the day in the most effective way, get the best out of our people, and provide the citizens of this country with truly world-class public services, we have a vision of ‘A Brilliant Civil Service’.

This vision, launched at Civil Service Live last summer, is built around four pillars that describe the organisation we aim to be: one managed by ‘Effective Leaders’, with ‘Skilled People’ delivering ‘Improved Outcomes’ for the public we serve in ‘A Great Place to Work’.

In January, John Manzoni and I introduced a new awards scheme to celebrate outstanding examples of the vision in action across the UK. Every month, the award focuses on achievements against one of the four pillars of A Brilliant Civil Service.

Graphic of 'A brilliant Civil Service' and four related themes

The first award, in January, recognising excellence in ‘Improved Outcomes’, was won by the fantastic Reducing Re-offending Team at HM Prison Ford, led by the prison’s learning and skills manager, Phil Turnbull.

'Improved outcomes' logoThe team aims to expand the educational opportunities for prisoners and improve the delivery of educational and vocational qualifications to those on day-release in the community.  By the end of 2016 the number of prisoners in full-time education outside the prison had risen tenfold to more than 30, with courses ranging from hairdressing to web design. And all those on the scheme who have since been released from HMP Ford went directly into either full-time employment or full-time education.

Two men and two women in a line, one holding framed award certificate
Members of the HM Prison Ford Reducing Re-offending Team, winners of the first 'A Brilliant Civil Service Award'

The feature of this winning entry was not just that it improved a process, important as that was: it never lost focus on achieving better outcomes for the prisoners and showing them and the wider community that successful rehabilitation is achievable.

Three further entries for the January award were ‘Highly Commended’:

  • Policy Lab, Cabinet Office
  • Conversion Team, Legal Aid Agency
  • Winter Fuel Unit, Department for Work and Pensions

Award submissions for February are now closed and the winner will be announced soon.

The high standard of entries is extremely encouraging, demonstrating again that ‘A Brilliant Civil Service’ is already a reality in many teams and an aspirational benchmark for realising it across the organisation.

I want to thank everyone who has submitted an entry to date, and would urge colleagues in every department, devolved administration, agency and public body to take the opportunity to highlight the great work they are doing.

'Skilled people' logoFor updates on the monthly scheme, details about how to enter, and a link to submit an entry, refer to your local intranet or contact your internal communications team.

The closing date for the March award, around the ‘Skilled People’ pillar, is Wednesday 22 March.

Follow Sir Jeremy on Twitter: @HeadUKCivServ

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  1. Comment by Harding posted on

    I cannot see the February winner anywhere.
    Is it not possible to publish this centrally?
    It seems such a shame when people have taken the time to nominate thier colleagues but there is no recognition or feedback. Being able to see details of previous winners would also help people writing nominations in the future.
    I have submitted a nomination for March's award and I don't know if or how I would find out if my nomination was successful.

  2. Comment by S Sheldon posted on

    Sharon, I nominated by team as well, but I'm unable to find the results anywhere. I think this is a great idea, but trying to find anything about the awards is really difficult and will end up putting people off doing nominations, especially as you don't appear to get any feedback.

  3. Comment by S Sheldon posted on

    When will the winners of February's award be announced?
    Also is there a timetable for the different awards for each month?

    • Replies to S Sheldon>

      Comment by The Blog Team posted on

      Thanks for your query.

      You should find details of the winning entry for the February ABCS award, and of those that were 'highly commended', on your departmental intranet. If not, please contact your internal comms team for this and other information on the awards.

      • Replies to The Blog Team>

        Comment by Gareth Marklew posted on

        Just as a suggestion, might it be worthwhile putting details of the Brilliant Civil Service Award winners/shortlists here on the Brilliant Civil Service Blog each month? Having them in one central location saves us all from having to work out where on each Departmental intranet they're going to end up, and would help emphasise that we are one (brilliant!) Civil Service rather than a collection of Departments, agencies and other bits and bobs.

        The awards are a great idea, and it seems a pity that January aside, results of them seem to be getting buried a little.

  4. Comment by Sharon Cardwell posted on

    Great to have the opportunity to nominate skilled people this month. So often we have a vision statement without a practical channel of promoting our achievements in a practical way aligned to the aspirations. I nominated my team however It would make nominating a bit easier if the link to the template had been put at the start of this article. I contacted my local communications team as directed and it was not quick for them to find the link either.

  5. Comment by Bunny352 posted on

    I'm sorry but whilst it's nice to get a pat on the back for a job well done, the authors of this scheme are using this as a cover to perpetuate the myth that all is great within the Civil Service, and justify how they are treating the workforce. A brilliant civil service it may be for some, but for many this is the just a patronising joke.

  6. Comment by Joy Jaipersad posted on

    I believe this is a briliant scheme. To show appreciation for all the hard work done on a daily basis is enough to boost the morale of those personnel in a section or department is a wonderful and should continue.