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.

Covid-19 has affected every area of the public service; this award is to recognise teams that have quickly responded to Covid-19, through policy innovations or internal team policies.

How to Vote

Use the links below to vote for the team of your choice. If you’re not yet a member of Apolitical, you’ll be taken to a signup page, and your vote will be counted automatically. Any votes cast after Sunday the 10th 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.

NSW Department of Customer Service Digital Channels Unit, Australia

The NSW Department of Customer Service Digital Channels Unit (DCU) has led New South Wales Government agencies from all nine government clusters, dissolving traditional silos to work together on nsw.gov.au. This central digital channel was set up to inform and guide citizens and has helped over 9 million users so far. Citizens and businesses have benefited from real-time content which aligned with government announcements, as well as new and innovative features such as an online Covid Safe Business registration. Streamlined processes with the Public Information Functional Area Coordinator (PIFAC) reduced the time it normally took for content to be developed, approved and published – critical in the rapidly changing Covid-19 environment.

The Early Investment Division at the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO), Chile

In April 2020, Chile faced a shortage of mechanical ventilators for COVID-19 patients. The Early Investment Unit at CORFO was put in charge of providing subsidies to early-stage ventures and set up a rapid response programme to produce and scale-up mechanical ventilators made by Chilean entrepreneurs and innovators. The programme was created in only seven days and within three months had received 33 applications. Seven projects were funded with a first subsidy of £7,000 to validate their solutions and four went on to receive a subsidy of between £50,000 and £250,000 to scale-up their solutions. These four projects are now exploring how to export their solutions to other countries.

The Reform Support Team and the Humanitarian Expenditures Department in the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine

The Reform Support Team in cooperation with the Humanitarian Expenditures Department designed, developed and deployed a digital analytical tool making all expenditures from the Anti-Covid-19 State Budget Fund publicly available. The tool can be accessed on the website of the Ministry of Finance and has provided a significant boost to the transparency in the use of public resources. The volume of the public spending that the tool has accounted for as of early December 2020 amounts to almost €2 billion. The team developed the digital tool within a remarkably short time frame – the first iteration was completed within three weeks of the initial idea, and the finished product was finished three weeks later.

NOVISSI Team, Ministry of Digital Economy and Digital Innovation of Togo

At the height of the Covid-19 crisis in Togo, the NOVISSI team was created to build and implement a 100% digital solution to deliver cash transfers to informal workers affected by the restrictive public health measures. The small team of three in-house developers and seven young cabinet staff worked quickly to deploy a functioning platform within just ten days.
The platform has since successfully enrolled over 1.37 million people and distributed nearly US$20 million in social cash transfers via mobile money; furthermore, every single one of those payments is fully traceable.

City of Cape Town Covid-19 Crisis Coordinating Team, South Africa

The team coordinated the City’s whole-system response to the pandemic in a truly transversal effort, led by impressive data products, world class project management capabilities, and innovative risk and resilience tools. As a result the team were able to develop 39 clinic overflow facilities to improve social distancing. They also created and deployed a vulnerability viewer, which overlaid live Covid-19 case data with a vulnerability index to direct targeted interventions into areas of high transmission. Another initiative included a bespoke online data tool to track staff availability through the pandemic, which was used across 15,000 staff.

GC Talent Reserve, Canada

GC Talent Reserve is a dedicated, single-window coordinated talent management tool for triaging digital and tech talent needs across the Government of Canada and is a retrofit of Talent Cloud. On March 16 the Talent Cloud team began repurposing and upgrading features on its platform in order to create a centralised talent sorting centre for the Covid-19 situation. The team prioritised speed in the design choices they made, deploying the site as a minimum viable product; as a result GC Talent Reserve went live on March 31. They’re also building an easy to deploy version that can be used by other levels of government, countries, and international bodies, along with a guide to installing and using the platform.