2021 Awards

In this article we look at the upcoming 2021 awards.

In-person events are back on the agenda as we are set to welcome governance professionals back to London’s Park Lane Hilton for The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland Awards on 16 November. A celebration of all that is good in governance, the 2021 Awards are the perfect morale-boosting antidote to too much time spent in jogging bottoms working from the home office. Not only do they provide a great opportunity to boast about your achievements and those of your fellow governance professionals, they represent the ideal occasion to add a bit of sparkle back to your life. Here’s how…

The 2021 Awards

 The Awards are an important opportunity for everyone working in the governance profession to highlight the achievements of those who have made significant contributions to their organisation – and governance as a whole. Individuals and teams from a variety of sectors and differing types of organisations are recognised each year by the Institute, along with a number of standout governance projects. In a year where the ongoing pandemic has continued to provide numerous challenges, celebrating those individuals and teams who have gone above and beyond in the field of governance is more important than ever.

Nine categories are open for nominations at this year’s Awards:

  • Governance Champion of the Year: newly introduced in 2020, this award recognises those individuals who are true ambassadors for governance in everything they do. Last year’s winner Fiona Chalk was recognised for her efforts to instil good governance in further education, with the judges saying that “Fiona’s nomination describes someone of vision and energy, a writer, trainer, mentor and leader motivated by a strong streak of altruism and an understanding of the link between good governance and outcomes for pupils and students. Fiona embodies the qualities for which our judges were looking in a governance champion of the year”.
  • Company Secretary of the Year: this award celebrates those senior company secretaries who have made a demonstrable difference, undertaking initiatives that have reshaped best practice and driven significant and lasting change or delivering results beyond the expectations of their role. Previous winners include Paul McCullagh, Barclays Europe (2020); Peter Lee, South East Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust (2019); and Miranda Craig, The Sage Group plc in 2018.
  • Governance Professional of the Year: this award acknowledges anyone in a governance role, including heads or directors of governance, trustees, non-executives and others whose work has a strong governance focus, who has made a positive and sustained contribution to an organisation or to the profession as a whole, going above and beyond to encourage, support or even lead the adoption of effective governance. Past winners are Paul Denton, North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust (2020); Wendy Stranger, East Coast College (2019); and Alison Chan of Alexandra Rose Charity who won in 2018.
  • The One to Watch: this category recognises a rising star in governance, someone early in their career who is making a significant contribution to the profession, embracing challenges and showing the kind of spirit that will take them to the top. Previous winners include Christina Meikle, Ernst & Young LLP (2019) and Anna Machin of ARK (2018). Louise Robinson of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, joint winner last year with Francesca Fossey of TMF Group, says: ‘It was a real surprise and honour to have been nominated and then awarded the One to Watch award, along with Francesca Fossey. It was a big confidence booster for the projects I am currently undertaking and my future ahead in the industry. It is also a motivator to support other new entrants into the industry and their governance journey, like I have been supported to date.’
  • Team of the Year: recognises a company secretarial and governance team that has demonstrated excellent collaboration, brought out the best in team members and developed effective and innovative ways of working. Past winners include Inmarsat plc (2020); Provident Financial PLC (2019); and Quilter plc (2018).
  • Service Provider of the Year: this category recognises those individuals or companies that have made a valuable and creative contribution to a client’s business, providing practical and cost-effective solutions to the day-to-day and embracing the unknown, the exceptional. Previous winners demonstrate the variety of sectors requiring governance support: Tapestry Compliance (2020); Support Services for Education (2019); and Company Matters, Link Asset Services (2018).
  • Governance Project of the Year:  celebrates those governance projects that are so significant in terms of their size, nature or the value created that they could be described as ’transformational. Last year’s winner Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) in the United Arab Emirates was a standout nomination, with MOHRE sharing the strategic learning from its governance maturity evaluation project with other parts of the organisation. Previous winners also include HSBC in 2019 for its Global Governance Excellence project and University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust in 2018 for its NHS merger.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Initiative of the Year: introduced last year and won by North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust for its Ordinary Residency policy review, this award recognises an innovative project that has changed how an organisation addresses D&I.
  • ESG Initiative of the Year: a new category introduced this year, this award celebrates those initiatives which are designed to address ESG issues head on, such as a commitment to sustainability and the use of ESG data in decision-making and reporting. ESG is at the top of many a governance agenda and the judges will be looking to see that there is an ongoing commitment to ESG issues that sits at the heart of an organisation’s work – from closer alignment of ESG concerns with strategy to efforts to address problems with supply chains, human trafficking and exploitation or efforts to minimise carbon footprint.

You don’t need to be a member of the Institute to submit a nomination, nor do you need to be a member to be a nominee or winner! If you know someone, a team or a project that you think makes a significant and positive impact in the governance arena, shine a spotlight on the very best that the profession has to offer by submitting your nomination at www.cgi.org.uk/awards before 17 September. Your nomination could make all the difference to someone.

In the words of last year’s Governance Professional of the Year, Paul Denton, ‘To receive an award at a time when the whole of the National Health Service was getting to grips with the Covid-19 pandemic was a humbling experience.  The award meant a lot to me personally, it made me happy but also filled me with a sense of trepidation; on a personal level it meant I had a responsibility to deliver on the faith in which colleagues had placed on me. In addition, the award reminded me how important teamwork is. I am part of a team, and the award is a tribute to the work we have delivered together. For me, the award has provided confirmation that we are doing the right thing, and that made me feel proud.  It provided positive reinforcement at a very difficult time.’

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