Why this matters

For the second year in a row, Apolitical will be celebrating innovative, groundbreaking teams that get the job done through our Public Service Team of the Year Awards. Though their work often goes unnoticed, we know that teams are at the heart of every effective government and are working hard every day to make people’s lives better.

This award recognises teams or departments that are prioritising equality in their work, either in their policy development or in internal efforts. Our finalists are tackling equality broadly defined, from gender equality to racial equality to generational equality: these teams are helping level the playing field for others.

How to Vote

Voting has now closed. Any votes cast after Sunday the 5th of January will not be counted. The winning team will be announced in late January.

How we selected the finalists

Our team received hundreds of nominations from teams all over the world. We then reviewed each nomination individually, and a panel of judges at Apolitical decided on a shortlist of teams for each category.





Gender Equality Team, Buenos Aires

The City of Buenos Aires Gender Equality Team has embarked on an ambitious project to systematically collect gender dis-aggregated data on the economic activities of it citizens. The system aims to close the statistical gap and use this new data to support better policy design, implementation and assessment, and service delivery. It’s the first Gender Indicator System of its kind in the country, which was used for the baseline, diagnosis and conceptual framework to design the Gender Equality Strategy for Buenos Aires.

The LGBT Team, Government Equalities Office, UK

The LGBT Team at the Government Equalities Office has launched a number of important initiatives, including running the National LGBT Survey which received over 108,000 responses, making it the largest national survey of its kind anywhere in the world. The team created the cross-Government four-year LGBT Action Plan based on the results of the survey aimed at improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. On the back of this plan the team has appointed a new LGBT Advisory Panel, recruited the first Health Advisor on LGBT issues, established a new LGBT health fund of £1 million and extended an anti-bullying programme in schools across the country.

AFAWA Team, African Development Bank

The Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) is an initiative poised to change trade in Africa and bridge the $42 billion financing gap between male and female entrepreneurs. The scheme will de-risk lending to women by giving partial guarantees to financial institutions. It will also provide women entrepreneurs with access to critical information on financial and non-financial services and help them build valuable business networks.

ICT and Digital Government, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Government of South Australia

In support of the Disability Inclusion Act 2018, ICT and Digital Government launched the South Australian Government’s Online Accessibility Policy and Toolkit. The policy and toolkit have been developed to help governments and organisations make their digital platforms more accessible. The toolkit contains resources on subjects like accessible visual design, content and user experience. The policy toolkit has been endorsed as an international benchmark for government by Vision Australia and the Royal Society for the Blind SA, as well as being nominated for a 2019 Australian Human Rights Award.

Partnership for Gender Equality, Global Affairs Canada

The Partnership for Gender Equality team works with its partner, the Equality Fund, to shift how, where, and by whom money is invested and deployed to impact gender equality. The Government of Canada invested $300 million in support of gender equality around the world, which the Partnership for Gender Equality has worked to catalyze.

Pune Municipal Corporation, India

Home to four million people, Pune suffers from a lack of public toilets for women. To help address this issue, the government of Pune partnered with Ulka Sadalkar and Rajeev Kher, who had previously converted old municipal buses into mobile public restrooms for women. The city provided 12 buses which were converted to toilets and provide both western and Indian toilet facilities and have solar panels on top. The buses are also integrated with WiFi and have facilities like sanitary napkin dispensers, a washbasin, and a screen presenting the status of cleanliness.

City of Breda, Netherlands

The City of Breda in the Netherlands was recognised by the European Commission this year for its commitment to making its city accessible to people of all kinds. Gemeente Breda has introduced initiatives like flattening its cobblestones to make its streets more wheelchair-accessible, ensuring that all buses in the city are wheelchair accessible, and checking more than 800 shops and bars for physical access. The city’s website has also been adapted for those with sensory impairments.

Kia Puāwai, Auckland Council, New Zealand

The Kia Puāwai programme brings local unemployed people on board to help Auckland Council’s customer service teams during a 12-week course. As well as working with unemployed people, the programme also focuses on the gender pay gap and provides equal employment opportunities for women. Successful candidates are offered a job in their local area and the prospect of a genuine career in the council or wider council family. Since it began, 60 graduates are now in employment – 53 in council jobs.

Windrush Generations Programme, Hackney Council, UK

Hackney Council has been a vocal supporter of the Windrush generations and families, including being the first council to organise an annual celebration of Windrush day. Windrush Generations was an events programme run by Hackney Council during the summer, involving the whole community. It was a cultural celebration which crossed generations and involved activities such as baking, cricket, dominos, music and dance, and a heritage and archive project. The aim of the programme was to connect isolated older people with each other and with council services. The event celebrated and commemorated Hackney’s Windrush generation and enabled the council to forge a new relationship with Black British older people.

Y-Foundation – Housing First Finland

The Y-Foundation has partnered with over 50 cities and municipalities in Finland to provide 17000 apartments to deliver on the Housing First principle in Finland. This principle is based on the idea that housing is not a reward a homeless person gets when their life is ‘back on track,’ but rather the foundation upon which the rest of their life is put back together. As a result of this principle, Finland is the only country in Europe where the number of homeless people is decreasing, and many cities in Finland have come close to completely eradicating homelessness.

The Race to the Top G6/7 Network

The Race to the Top G6/7 network has launched a number of initiatives aimed at increasing BAME representation in government. These include: launching The SCS Shadowing Scheme, which enabled over 400 learning placements in 2018/2019 for participants, including opportunities to shadow very senior roles; running Women in Leadership sessions for hundreds of BAME women; hosting an International Men’s Day event promoting BAME SCS male role models; and creating a ‘Charter for Change’ which outlined easy-to-implement strategies for senior civil servants in supporting BAME G6/7s.