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 is to celebrate teams that are helping bring government into the twenty-first century by digitising their services – whether it’s a new website for citizens, the implementation of digital IDs or a training programme for public servants to improve their technical skills.

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.

Working Group for Digital Transformation in Brazilian States and Federal District

Brazil has seen astonishing digital transformation in 2019 – in the first six months of 2019, the Brazilian government transformed 311 public services and made them 100% digital. The Working Group for Digital Transformation is an initiative from the National Council of Secretaries of Public Administration in Brazil (CONSAD), along with the Brazilian Association of Public Information, Communication and Technology entities from the states (ABEPTIC). The Working Group has helped develop a common strategy for the development of states’ digital transformation agendas and projects.

National Identification Authority, Ghana

The NIA was set up in 2003 under the Office of the President with the mandate to issue national ID cards and manage the National Identification System (NIS). In the past few years, the NIS Project has been revamped, helping transform and formalize the Ghanaian economy, and enhance e-governance in the country. It offers opportunities for all Ghanaians to harness their responsibilities and obligations, and to improve the manner and quality of providing and accessing various Government services through the use of the ID cards.

SNAP Text Service, Anchorage, Alaska

In Anchorage citizens can now use text messages (SMS) to access the local supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP). They can use texts to start a new SNAP application, renew SNAP benefits, check their case status, or ask a question. The initiative is expected to reduce the costs of setting up new enrollees and to simplify the enrollment process for Food Bank of Alaska, which previously sought out potential recipients by visiting shelters, libraries, and food pantries.

Head to Health, Department of Health, Government of Australia

Provided by the Australian Department of Health, Head to Health brings together apps, online programs, online forums, and phone services, as well as a range of digital information resources, in order to help users find digital mental health services. It is a collaboration between the community, people with lived experience, the mental health sector, and the Australian Government Department of Health.

OpenCerts, GovTech, Singapore Government Technology Agency

In April 2019, GovTech Singapore launched a programme called OpenCerts across its education sector. OpenCerts utilises a blockchain platform to issue and verify education certificates, allowing education institutions to grant certificates digitally. The digital certificates can then be used and verified by other educational institutions and future employers.

Digital Village, Jabar Digital Service, Government of West Java, Indonesia

Jabar Digital Service (JDS) or the West Java Digital Services, Data, and Geospatial Information Unit, is a technical unit under the West Java Communications and Informatics Agency. The unit aims to narrow the province’s growing digital divide, help the government make more efficient and accurate public policy based on data and tech, and revolutionise governance and citizens’ livelihood with technology. Under the Digital Village programme, JDS is running the One Village One Company project, which places promising young leaders in charge of creating a startup in a village within two years.

S3WaaS (Secure, Scalable & Sugamya Website as a Service), The National Informatics Centre of India, Government of India

S3Waas is a framework for generating government websites that deliver information about government services. It features a standardised user-friendly interface for over 600 district websites, allowing citizens to navigate, access and understand multilingual information with minimal effort. The websites generated using the S3WaaS framework offer 18 languages and can be accessed on any device, making it easier for citizens to access information about government services.

Gebruiker Centraal

Gebruiker Centraal offers a network for civil servants interested in applying user-centred design to their practice. It is a community for professionals who are involved with online services of the government. Their goal is to take the online services of the government to a higher level, so that more citizens are able to and want to use digital services. Their goals include applying user-centred design, developing people-oriented policies, and stimulating innovation.

‘333’, Access 2 Information (A2I), Government of Bangladesh

Bangladesh Access to Information (a2i) has introduced ‘333,’ a central helpline that can be used to access government information, services, and to report complaints or social issues. The call centre can be contacted for information about government offices and how to receive public services, as well as to report cases of child marriage or illegal drug distribution. Since its launch in April 2018, over 3.5 million citizens have used the helpline to access information.