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Civil Service Awards 2013 - my view

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Civil Service Awards, Civil Service Reform

Few days pass by in this job where I don’t find new reasons to feel proud of the Civil Service – whether visiting colleagues around the country to hear about the work they are taking forward, or meeting with teams here in Whitehall, I am always struck by the outstanding quality of the work I see and the calibre of people I meet.

On the night of the Civil Service Awards, this excellence comes together in one place – and with guests including the Prime Minister, Tech City CEO Joanna Shields and BBC Deputy Political Editor James Landale, this was an event that demonstrated the exceptionally high regard in which the Civil Service is held. It’s really important for all of us to regularly reflect on what we are doing well, and I am keen that we do it more often. Ours is an organisation of over 400,000 people in which truly remarkable work is taking place, and recognising our successes is essential. The Civil Service Awards, which took place last night in Lancaster House, allow us to do just that.

The Prime Minister at the Civil Service Awards 2013
The Prime Minister at the Civil Service Awards 2013

Shining a spotlight on great work

They give us the chance to shine a spotlight on those individuals and teams who are doing great things. In spite of the tough financial situation, civil servants across departments are rising to the challenge and making a difference – whether in the area of policy or delivery, be it promoting growth or improving our record on diversity, there is so much to be proud of and to celebrate. Last night’s ceremony showcased the commitment, innovation and dedication of colleagues that exists in abundance across the organisation, and I only wish I had the space here to congratulate all the winners individually. There were, however, some really encouraging trends underpinning the winners. The collaborative efforts of winners such as The GREAT Britain Team and ‘Clean Team’ at DFID demonstrated the Civil Service’s capacity for both cross departmental work and engagement with the business community, whilst hearing about the work of the 2050 Team brought home the United Kingdom’s integral role in tackling some of the most important issues facing the world today, in particular climate change. The Adoption Team’s work to bring about a cultural shift in our approach to the adoption process is quite remarkable, and I was also particularly struck by the incredible work of Adrian Treharne of the Border Force People Directorate who has done so much to support disabled colleagues in the workplace. A particular personal highlight was to be given the opportunity to hand out an award myself. With such a stellar array of nominees it was inevitable that teams worthy of winning would miss out – the Head of the Civil Service Award was designed especially to recognise the ‘one that got away’. I chose the State Pension Reform Team, who were absolutely instrumental in helping to deliver a refined system for the UK that ensures security for all in old age and lays a firm foundation for retirement saving.

Replicating success

In the months ahead, I want us to go further in defining our vision for the future of the Civil Service. Nights like this show us how good we can be, and my ambition is for our organisation to take the example of those who were nominated and who won last night and set about replicating their success – that we take this best practice and use it to guide our direction of travel for the future. I am also aware that there are so many others across the Civil Service whose work deserves similar recognition but who didn’t receive a nomination. These awards are a wonderful way of celebrating our successes, but if we are to make sure that more of the great work being undertaken in departments is talked about then we need to get better at championing our achievements every day of the year. So the time to start thinking about next year’s awards is now. Is there an exceptional team or individual that you’d like to nominate for 2014? Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts.

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  1. Comment by Steve Walker posted on

    Many congratulations to the winners of their highly prestigious awards. It's good to know that, even in these austere times, the Civil Service nonetheless can find the money to congratulate itself at award ceremonies like this. I do hope that the many members of the public who couldn't get tickets to attend the event will get an opportunity to enjoy it when it is 'televised' or web-casted.

    • Replies to Steve Walker>

      Comment by Bob Kerslake posted on

      Hi Steve,

      The cost of running the Civil Service Awards is covered by Dods (who run the event each year) through advertising and sponsorship from outside the Civil Service. This enables us to celebrate the achievements of civil servants from across the UK without spending money at a time when we are all having to operate in tough financial conditions. Photographs of all the winners from last night’s event can be found at, and a recording of the event will go live in the next couple of weeks. When it does I will be sure to tweet.



  2. Comment by Ross Rounsevell posted on

    I am neither inspired or impressed by Bob Kerslake's, David Cameron's or Francis Maude's speeches about reform or success.I have worked in private enterprise ,large and small companies, and the Civil Service and have a range of experience at the sharp end that people such as Mr Cameron has never had .The performance and organisation these three gentlemen imagine does not exist because of them .The Civil Service is performing well because of the abiliity of the staff in general and not just through the presence of a few hand picked people and organisations.Those honoured in this way are reminiscient of the 1930's soviet stakanovite nominations.
    Must sign off as I have another 250 tons of coal to shovel.

  3. Comment by Paul Allan posted on

    Could I request that the same attitude of congratulation and recognition is applied when it comes to our next pay "award" ?

    • Replies to Paul Allan>

      Comment by Jon Larcombe posted on

      You can ask Paul, but we all know what the answer'll be - yet another pay cut - for me around 12.5 - 14% in real terms!

      • Replies to Jon Larcombe>

        Comment by Jon Larcombe posted on

        over the last 3 years that is!

  4. Comment by Max Ridgway posted on

    What bubble do Bob Kerslake, Francis Maude and David Cameron live in? It is certainly a far cry from majority of the ordinary undervalued civil servants that exist in the real world of no pay rises, depleted pensions and the eradication of our terms and conditions that will leave the majority of us struggling to exist on our measly civil service pensions, not to mention the extra 6 years I and many others will have to wait for our state pensions. And don't get me started on the office closures that are hanging over our heads at this time for the department I work for. I do not share the vision of the future civil service that they seem to have, sadly all I see from my civil service colleagues at the moment is disillusionment and a sense of betrayal for all their years of hard work.

  5. Comment by Jan Nolan posted on

    Ironic to get this today - our DVLA Local office closes to the puplic today. A lot of very dedicated loyal civil servants who did a brilliant job, being made redundant just in time for christmas, and replaced by what? New systems are way off being ready to replace us and no hope of an even adequate service to the public.
    Truly shameful

  6. Comment by Pauline posted on

    Bob (if I may be so pertinent to call you that) and Mr Prime Minister you should get together with The PUS and read the Permanent Undersecretary's Blog's comments (As he never reads them) and see how the MAJORITY of WORKERS feel while some are still plodding on patting themselves on the back!!! If we are all doing such a good job Try giving us some incentive instead of destroying the good hard earned loyalty that we used to have. It can be crushed in an instant but takes years to build.

  7. Comment by Tony posted on

    Is it not time we give awards to the people who really deserve it. The one's who continue year after year. One of my colleagues has been a big incentive to hundreds of civil servents in and out of the office and has now left without a simple little thank you.
    There are people who certainly deserve merit for what they do, but they never seem to appear on the list

    • Replies to Tony>

      Comment by Abledcitizen posted on

      Tony - did you never put a nomination together for your colleague? You have to be in it to win it. People need to make the effort to have those they feel worthy appear on any lists.. Lets not belittle the efforts of these winners. They may even have thought like you prior to receiving their awards.. . .