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Civil Service

Civil Service Awards 2021: shortlist revealed

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Drumroll... We can now present the shortlisted nominees for the prestigious Civil Service Awards 2021!

Today, the Civil Service Awards 2021 officially unveiled the shortlist ahead of next month’s award ceremony, following a record number of entries.

Image of CSA trophyFollowing a refresh to embody the vision for A Modern Civil Service, there are 13 awards up for grabs. Look out for several exciting new categories including Programme of the Year, One Civil Service and Cabinet Secretary’s Outstanding Leader, alongside trusty favourites such as Rising Star and Diversity and Inclusion

Delivering for citizens

An expert panel of judges, comprising a mix of grades and professions from locations across the UK, reviewed the nominations to select the contenders. Civil servants drive extraordinary work, delivering for citizens all over the country, and insiders revealed it was a tall order selecting the shortlist in another competitive year.

Group of people on a stage celebrating
In it to win it: winners from the Civil Service Awards 2016 ceremony on stage at London's Lancaster House

The Civil Service Awards ceremony will be beamed live from London’s historic Lancaster House on 16 December. The ceremony will feature both an in-person event for the hopefuls as well as a virtual audience of their cheering colleagues and teams tuning in for the big event.

Get to Know… Shona Dunn 

Shona Dunn, Second Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care, shares her excitement to be back as Civil Service Awards Champion for the second time.

Shona Dunn, Department of Health
Awards Champion, Shona Dunn

What makes the Civil Service Awards so special? 

The Civil Service Awards celebrates the very best of our colleagues. It’s an opportunity to reflect on their astonishing achievements, at every level, across the whole country, whether it’s frontline staff working with the public, teams working overseas on humanitarian aid, or individuals making their departments a great place to work.

We are not as good as we should be at celebrating our successes - our culture is to be modest and avoid the spotlight - but we should be enormously proud of what our colleagues do and this is our chance to show that. The quality of nominations this year made for some tough judging decisions for me and my colleagues, but as ever, being involved has been a hugely rewarding and uplifting experience.

As Awards Champion, what’s your favourite thing about your involvement? 

I’m lucky: I have one of the best roles in this process, as I get to see the very best of the hundreds of compelling nominations that come through in areas of work that sometimes I’ve never even encountered before. It’s a great privilege to see that breadth of activity and the impact it is having.

We’ll be returning to an in-person ceremony with a live audience for the first time in two years. How does it feel to be back? 

Gillian Whitworth, 2020 Civil Service Award winner
Gillian Whitworth, 2020 winner

I really enjoyed the online ceremony last year, and watching the winners’ faces when their names were called out. What we delivered was amazing in the circumstances, and I was proud that we were still able to hold a worthy celebration.

This year I’m looking forward to being able to meet all the shortlisted nominees and the winners among them again. Having the opportunity to hear their stories first-hand and thank them personally for what they’ve done is a real joy!

This year attracted record nominations. Why do you think it inspired so many?

Given the various issues civil servants faced in the midst of the pandemic, I think people just wanted to show their appreciation for their colleagues by nominating them. We also gave the awards a full facelift this year for the first time in its 16-year history, refreshing all the categories in line with the vision for A Modern Civil Service and its pillars of Skilled, Innovative and Ambitious.

We wanted to make sure there really was something for everyone, to attract more nominations and open the doors to the awards as widely as possible.

◼︎Check out the complete list of shortlisted nominees here, then mark your diaries for 16 December. Civil servants can follow coverage live on the day from the Civil Service Awards website, where you can read more about the awards.

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