Why this matters

For the third 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. This has been a challenging year, and public servants have been pushed to be more creative, innovative, and flexible than ever before — and we want to celebrate their work.

This year has also been a remarkable time of recognising historic inequalities and seeking to rectify them. This award will recognise teams tackling equality broadly defined, from gender equality to racial equality to generational equity: these teams are helping level the playing field for others.

How to Vote

Voting has now closed.

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.

Connect Ontario, Canada

Connect Ontario is a professional development networking group, which centres the experiences of Black public servants. It began as a lunch group for public servants to meet and talk, but then grew to a formalised programme with 200 full-time members. It has an all Black leadership team and admits members from all ethnic backgrounds. The group holds monthly ‘power chats,’ where members discuss a pre-prepared topic on the phone together, as well as smaller coffee chats, and operates on a points-based system, so members can monitor how much they’re giving to the group, as well as how much they’re getting out of it.

Cultural Diplomacy Team, DCMS & UK-Israel Tech Hub, UK

The Cultural Diplomacy Team and UK-Israel Tech Hub collaborated between two different parts of the UK Government to launch an internal initiative to combat the challenges women and under-represented groups face. The team provided training over the course of one week, which focused on changing the narrative around self-promotion, unconscious bias, imposter syndrome, and more. Over the week, they upskilled more than 300 civil servants across 10 time zones. They hosted four workshops and facilitated seven interactive drop-in sessions, all focused on making actionable changes.

City of Costa Mesa’s Energy and Sustainability Team, California

The City of Costa Mesa’s Energy and Sustainability Team was nominated for their inclusive, citywide approach to sustainability and climate action. Despite increased budgetary restrictions due to Covid-19, the city secured a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Cities & Communities grant, which helps governments pursue LEED certification and provides access to educational resources and support. The city also provides resources to show citizens how to hold more environmentally responsible, sustainable events.

MERIT Project’s Community of Practice for Gender Experts and Champions, Mongolia

Funded by Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian government’s department that manages the country’s diplomatic and consular relations, the seven-year MERIT (Mongolia Enhancing Resource Management through Institutional Transformation) project provides technical expertise to public servants working in Mongolia’s natural resource management agency. They created a Community of Practice around gender issues, bringing together people who were interested in the topic. From what was once five people, MERIT has created a group of over 50 advocates for gender mainstreaming throughout the Mongolian government.

Malaysia Ministry of Rural Development’s ‘Smart Village Project’

Malaysia’s Ministry of Rural Development set out to help provide infrastructure to rural areas, while also strengthening the economy, through its ‘Smart Village Project.’ In August 2019, they signed on several partners to help close the digital divide and build the digital skills of its village dwellers. The Smart Village Pilot Programme will provide high speed internet access, powering smart classrooms and digital marketplaces and allowing for initiatives like telemedicine and smart farming via drones. The Pilot Programme is being rolled out to 191 villages, but the Ministry ultimately plans for it to be introduced to 15,000 villages across the country.

CHANGE : City Hub and Network for Gender Equity

The City Hub and Network for Gender Equity is the world’s first international city network in the pursuit of gender equality. The CHANGE team currently comprises international affairs and policy staff based in the Mayor’s Offices of the six co-founding cities (Barcelona, Freetown, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Tokyo), representing four continents and over 35 million people. The team has worked across time zones and through Covid-19 to bring this network from concept to action, growing the commitment by local governments to mainstream gender equity and build resilience and fairness into communities worldwide.