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In a packed room at the Hilton Park Lane, the winners of the Digital Leaders 100 Awards (DL100) were revealed yesterday (15 June 2016).
More than 500 digital pioneers and influencers from both the public, private and non-profit sectors attended the awards ceremony where the 10 category winners were announced.
The event, which was hosted by former Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and BBC Click presenter LJ Rich, celebrated some of the greatest achievements in digital leadership in the past year.
After a public nomination and a rigorous judging process, the DL100 list – which covers projects, organisations and individuals involved in digital transformation – was opened for a public vote in April 2016.
The public then voted to decide who would emerge as winners of each category, which were celebrated at the ceremony.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) Share Driving Licence service not only won the Digital Public Service Innovation of the Year award, but also scooped the prize for overall winner and was named number one on the DL100 list.
The service lets drivers view their driving licence information online and allows them to share the information with others, such as car rental companies. Drivers can also view a summary of their driving record and when their licence is up for renewal.
DVLA service design lead Ryan Davies desribed winning the two awards as “fantastic” and a significant achievement.
“It means everything,” he said. “We’ve been working hard for the past two years and to get recognition for what we’ve done for the public service is unbelievable. It’s a real privilege to have won the awards and getting recognition for the team.”
Fintech Innovation of the Year
PayPal Working Capital emerged as the winner of the Fintech Innovation of the Year category for its flexible alternative to a traditional loan, where eligible business customers can apply quickly for cash advances against future sales.
The team said they were thrilled simply to be nominated and did not expect to win.
Digital Council of the Year
Alison McKenzie-Folan, Wigan Council, Digital Council of the Year
Wigan Council, which aims to become the “best digital council and truly digital borough by 2020”, collected the award for Digital Council of the Year. To collect the prize was deputy CEO at the council, Alison McKenzie-Folan.
“We’re so passionate about digital transformation in Wigan,” she said, adding that winning the award means everything to the council.
“We’re absolutely ecstatic. Every team in the council is working towards digital, it’s part of everything we do and it’s in our DNA.”
Cyber Resilience Innovation of the Year
In the Cyber Resilience Innovation of the Year category – one which is becoming increasingly important – Cyber Security Challenge UK emerged as the winner.
The Cyber Security Challenge is a series of national competitions, networking initiatives and learning programmes to enable European Union (EU) citizens in the UK to become cyber security professionals.
Cyber Security Challenge chairman Robert Nowill, who was the only one representing his team, claimed he had no idea they would receive an award.
“It’s crazy fun and absolutely fantastic to be here and be recognised for the work we do,” he said.
Digital Inclusion and Skills Initiative of the Year
The Digital Inclusion and Skills Initiative of the Year category winner was iTeach UK for its Coding and Programming in the Primary School programme.
Collecting the prize was primary educator Michael O’Kane, who said he felt privileged to accept the award.
“We work with so many fantastic individual schools, teachers, pupils and it's on behalf of all of those that we take this award,” he said.
“It's a great privilege and an absolute pleasure, and not just being nominated but actually winning it. It shows how much we care for the young people.”
Cross-Sector Digital Collaboration of the Year
In a brand-new category this year, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) MOT modernisation programme – in collaboration with Kainos – won the gong for Cross-Sector Digital Collaboration of the Year.
The DVSA used agile development to create a service that is both easy to use and cost-efficient, and said the success of the programme was due to “continuous collaboration between users and the project team”.
DVSA group manager Alex Fiddes said the award was a “real accolade for the efforts we’ve put in, collaborating across digital services”.
“It means a recognition of the hard work the team has put in and a genuine belief that if you believe in the advantages of digital services, you should step forward and step up to the plate,” he said.
Read more about DL100 nominees
Charity Digital Leader of the Year
Action for Children emerged as the winner of the Charity Digital Leader of the Year category. The charity has truly embraced technology in how it works, engages and collaborates, and realises that digital is an important part of childrens’ lives.
CIO Alex Crawford said he felt “quite nervous” beforehand and didn’t expect to win.
“It's great recognition for the charity. We help disadvantaged children, and our staff and our charity being recognised as innovators using technology to improve the lives of vulnerable children is really fantastic for us,” he said.
SME Digital Leader of the Year
In the SME Digital Leader of the Year category, Informed Solutions found itself up on stage receiving the award. The company provides end-to-end digital transformation services across a broad spectrum of both industry and government clients in more than 40 countries.
Global CEO Elizabeth Vega said that when the award was announced “our table whooped like you would not believe”.
“We're absolutely thrilled. As an SME [small and medium-sized enterprise], awards such as this really add to your prestige,” she said.
Digital Leader of the Year
In perhaps one of the most coveted categories, Digital Leader of the Year, there was stiff competition. However, with her extraordinary drive and leadership skills, Maggie Philbin emerged as the winner.
Philbin is perhaps most famously known from her work on Tomorrow’s World, but she holds many achievements under her belt. She also leads the TeenTech initiative, is the president of the Institute of Engineering Designers, sits on the Stem Commission for Haringey, and leads the Young Stem Taskforce.
Maggie Philbin, Digital Leader of the Year
Philbin said she was “chuffed to bits” about winning.
“It’s incredibly humbling to win something like this. There were some astonishing people nominated, and that’s the whole thing about the digital space. There are so many people doing such incredibly significant work,” she said.
“By default digital has created this whole community because we know about each other and support each other.”
DL Local Champion of the Year
Another person who was recognised for her digital leadership was Caron Alexander, who won the DL Local Champion of the Year award.
In her role as director of digital and technology shared services at the Department of Finance and Personel Northern Ireland (NI), Alexander works to deliver the NI Digital Transformation Programme, and has already completed the first milestone of delivering 16 digital citizen-facing services. She’s also a key driver in the NI open data agenda.
Alexander said she was “ecstatic to have won”. She added that leading the transformation programme has been challenging but that she was “so happy” to receive recognition for the work.
Consumer Digital Innovation of the Year
Up on stage to receive the award for Consumer Digital Innovation of the Year was Lloyds Banking Group’s consumer digital team.
Lloyds has worked hard to design simple online banking. It has achieved a 400% online growth in the past five years and has more than 11.5 million active online customers. The banking group also has 12,000 digital champions in the business.
“It feels brilliant to accept the award. It means a lot and demonstrates the efforts of the team,” said Lloyds consumer digital director Nick Williams.
Editor’s Choice Award
The 2016 DL100 list was filled with a number of very strong entries, and the Computer Weekly Editor’s award went to one of those: Surrey County Council.
The council’s Vulnerable People Emergency Response Programme, in partnership with Kainos and Skyskape, has built a data-sharing hub which allows relief agencies to share information during emergencies to ensure vulnerable people are protected.
Robert Steele, the council’s digital platform manager for data, said the team were both proud and surprised.
“It’s a fantastic accolade that a public sector team stood out among very eminent peers,” he said. “It's an excellent acknowledgement of the hard work of the team and our supportive partners, and generally the public sector.”
The full DL100 list can be viewed here.