1st April 2019
' Nominations Open '
3rd May 2019
' Nominations Close '
31st July 2019
' Shortlist Announced '
4th October 2019
' Awards Ceremony '



Rupert McNeil

I am very pleased to be joining the Civil Service as Chief People Officer, and I’m looking forward to the challenge as we continue to build a smaller, more diverse, more efficient Civil Service.

My background is in financial services and consulting, having moved into Human Resources (HR) while working in banking. I am very focused on the functional excellence of HR, delivering excellent service and being accountable to all customers. I will also be focusing on aligning Civil Service departments more closely through the use of data, evidence-based reasoning and capable and credible centralised services.

I have been extremely impressed by the capability, passion and pride that the Civil Service workforce displays every day in everything it does. Supporting civil servants in their work and recruiting and keeping the best people is a key purpose of my role. It is crucial that our people, policies and processes are as flexible as possible, so that the Civil Service is best equipped to serve the British public.

Sir Mark Sedwill

Sir Mark Sedwill was appointed Cabinet Secretary in 2018. He is also Head of the Civil Service and National Security Adviser.

Prior to this, Mark was the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office (2013-17), FCO Political Director (2012-13), NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan (2010-11), HM Ambassador to Afghanistan (2009-10) and Director of UKvisas (2006-8). He joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1989, serving in Egypt, Iraq, Cyprus and Pakistan.

Mark was educated at the University of St Andrews and the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and President of the Special Forces Club. He is married with one daughter.

Bernadette Kelly CB

Bernadette Kelly became Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport on 18 April 2017.

From September 2015 to April 2017, Bernadette Kelly was Director General, Rail Group in DfT. Prior to that she was a Director General at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) from April 2010.

Bernadette joined the Civil Service after graduating. She has spent most of her career working on public policy in relation to business and the economy. She has led work in government to reform the planning regime for major infrastructure; boost housing supply; establish the Competition and Markets Authority; strengthen utility regulation; reform corporate governance; and on industrial strategy and local growth and devolution.

In addition to DfT and BIS, Bernadette has worked in the Department for Communities and Local Government, HM Treasury, the Cabinet Office and the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit; as well as on secondment to ICI plc.

Bernadette was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 2010.

James Greengrass

Executive Director - Central Government, Transport & Business Consultancy

James is one of the founders of Veredus, hailing from the Price Waterhouse legacy.  He has recruited to the public sector and the Civil Service at senior level for over 20 years, and leads the Veredus Government and Transport practices.  

Clare Moriarty

Clare Moriarty has been Permanent Secretary for the Department for Exiting the European Union since April 2019.

Her previous roles include

  • Permanent Secretary for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Director General, Rail Executive in the Department for Transport
  • Director General, Corporate Group, Department for Transport
  • Constitution Director, Ministry of Justice
  • Head, NHS Foundation Trust Unit, Department of Health
  • Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Health
  • secondments to the NHS and the UCL School of Public Policy.

Clare has a long-standing interest in leadership, change and diversity. She is a member of the Westminster Abbey Institute Council of Reference and the Advisory Council of the Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy.

Dr Nasser Siabi OBE

Dr Nasser Siabi OBE is co-founder and CEO of the UK’s leading Assistive Technology Company, Microlink PC (UK) Limited.  Microlink has enabled over a quarter of a million people with health conditions and disabilities to succeed in education and employment.

The company was founded in 1992 as a solution to the challenges experienced by the Directors in both education and the workplace. It offers a scalable service delivered by people passionate about creating a happier, healthier and disability confident workplace. With over 40% of its workforce having declared a disability or learning difficulty of some kind – compared to the national average of 8% – Microlink is proof in itself that being disability confident makes business sense.

In addition to his role at Microlink, Nasser devotes his time as a member of the DWP Disability Employer Engagement steering group, and leads a sub group on transitioning from education. The sub group’s objective is to bring the three core departments responsible (BIS, DWP and DfE) together making sure that people in education and in work get the advice and support that they need. He is also a trustee and board member of CSPOC, a Geneva-based United Nations accredited, not-for-profit NGO.

Nasser is a member of The Business Disability Forum (BDF), a founding member of Business Taskforce for Accessible Technology (BTAT), a founding member of the British Assistive Technology Association (BATA), member and former Director of the National Association of Disability Practitioners (NADP).

He has been awarded SME Director of the Year for London and the South East by the Institute of Directors (IoD) where he is also a fellow, and was Business Disability Forum’s SME Disability Champion in 2012. He received the award for ‘Outstanding Lifetime Contribution in the Field of Dyslexia’ from the British Dyslexia Association in 2012, and his contribution towards improving the lives of disabled students won him the NADP Annual Award in 2013 from the National Association of Disability Practitioners. Nasser has received Life Time Award from National Diversity Awards in 2015.

Nasser has a PhD from the University of Southampton in Electronics and Computer Science, and received an OBE for services to disabled people in the Queen’s birthday honours list in 2010.

Craig Watkins

Craig has over thirty years’ experience working for, and with the public sector, giving him a deep understanding of the challenges facing the sector in the UK. Prior to leading the UK team at Kantar, he worked as a senior civil servant in the UK government, led the Ministry of Justice’s financial planning and management and headed business development for EY’s UK Government and Public Sector Practice.

Antonia Romeo

Antonia Romeo is the Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Trade, which has responsibility for global trade promotion and finance, inward and outward investment, trade policy, and trade negotiation and market access arrangements with countries outside the EU. Prior to this, Antonia was Her Majesty’s Consul General in New York and Director General Economic and Commercial Affairs USA, and Special Envoy to the US technology companies.

Antonia began her career in the private sector, at strategic consultancy firm Oliver Wyman. She joined the Civil Service in 2000 as an economist.

Her previous senior roles in Her Majesty’s Government include:

  • Director-General and Head of the Economic and Domestic Secretariat in the Cabinet Office, responsible for coordinating policy advice to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, and delivery of the PM’s top priorities
  • Director-General, Criminal Justice at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), responsible for all criminal justice policy and major programmes
  • Director-General, Transformation at MoJ, responsible for reform and savings programmes, strategy, Digital Services, communications, Group HR and Group estates
  • Executive Director, Enterprise and Reform at Cabinet Office, responsible for reforming the Government’s governance and Board model, working with businesses
  • Director of Policy at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Principal Private Secretary to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice at MoJ

Antonia holds an MA (PPE) from Oxford University, an MSc (Economics) from the London School of Economics, and an Advanced Management Programme diploma from Columbia Business School. She is married with 3 children.

Jonathan Slater

Jonathan became the Permanent Secretary for the Department for Education in May 2016.

His previous roles in government include:

  • Director General and Head of the Economic and Domestic Secretariat, Cabinet Office
  • Director General of Head Office and Commissioning Services, Ministry of Defence
  • Director General for Transforming Justice, Ministry of Justice
  • Chief Executive of the Office, Criminal Justice Reform
  • Director of Performance and Improvement, National Offender Management Service
  • Director, Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit

Before joining the Civil Service in 2001, Jonathan was a local authority Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Education.

Permanent Secretary

The Permanent Secretary is a member of the Department for Education Board and attends the Performance, Management and Audit and Risk Committees. The Permanent Secretary is:

  • Head of the Department, ensuring the effective day-to-day running of the department, providing strong leadership and working with the board to manage the department’s external reputation
  • Chief Policy Adviser to the Secretary of State and the ministerial team, supporting them to develop and achieve their priorities
  • Principal Accounting Officer, responsible and accountable to Parliament for the stewardship of the department’s budget, and ensuring value for money

Sandra Kerr

Sandra is the National Campaign Director for Business in the Community’s Race Equality campaign, a business-led network of organisations from the private and public sector working and committed to race equality as part of their good business practice. She works together with the Business in the Community Race Leadership Team to set the agenda for race diversity in the UK as a business imperative.

Sandra strongly believes there is a need for wider business engagement to promote best practice for recruiting and developing ethnic minority individuals; marketing to ethnic minority people as profitable consumers; including diverse communities within responsible business action; and including ethnic minority businesses and entrepreneurs in supply chains and networks. She is particularly passionate about inclusive leaders, raising the profile of senior role models from diverse backgrounds to inspire the next generation, and creating an inclusive environment through mentoring and sponsorship.

Before joining the Business in the Community race equality campaign (formerly Race for Opportunity) Sandra worked in the Cabinet Office advising on diversity and policies on race, disability, gender, and work life balance across Whitehall. Sandra has also managed very large teams in a frontline delivery role and also spent some years as a personal development and IT skills trainer.

In January 2012, Sandra was awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Year honours list for services to black and minority ethnic people.

Melanie Dawes CB

Melanie Dawes took up her role as Permanent Secretary for DCLG on 1 March 2015. She continued this role for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government from 8 January 2018. She is also gender champion for the Civil Service and sits on the Civil Service Board and Senior Leadership Committee.

Melanie was Director General of the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat (EDS) at the Cabinet Office from October 2011, responsible for overseeing the system of Cabinet decision-making.

Between 2006 and 2011 she was at HMRC, including as one of the department’s Commissioners. She was Director General for Business Tax from November 2007, which involved responsibility for all the business taxes and duties as well as leadership of the department’s relationships with big business. From 2009, she also led the development of HMRC’s overall strategy as a department.

Before joining HMRC, Melanie spent 15 years at the Treasury, including as Europe Director from 2002 to 2006. She started her career as an economist and has worked on public spending, tax and tax credit policy, macroeconomics, monetary policy and the euro.

Dr Michelle Harrison

Dr Michelle Harrison is the global CEO of Kantar’s Public Division and is responsible for the effectiveness of our work around the world to our clients to support their delivery of a better public realm. She is also the founding CEO of the WPP Government and Public Sector Practice. Michelle has worked with government and corporate clients in every continent in all aspects of public policy and public affairs. In the UK, she has been invited to advise the UK Cabinet Office over the last three political administrations. Her career to date has included time in academia, in the field of international development, in strategy consulting, and in social research. Her non-executive appointments include Nesta, the foremost authority on how innovation can solve major economic and social challenges, and Involve, the UK charity for participatory democracy.