We are delighted to announce the shortlist of the inspirational teams and individuals who have impressed and shown dedication and commitment to supporting a thriving parliamentary democracy.
Connor is a Parliamentary Assistant for Alicia Kearns MP. During his time as a researcher, Connor has adeptly managed complex stakeholder engagement, navigated intricate local relationships and engaged effectively with national bodies to deliver meaningful results for residents of Alicia's constituency. He has demonstrated compassion and wisdom while being intellectually astute and pragmatic, and has been resoundingly successful at managing the strategic direction of two offices. From training new staff and ensuring the structure is in place to deliver national campaigns, Connor is clear in his management, motivational and possesses an understanding of the bigger picture. Additionally, Connor has also helped to co-ordinate international cross-Parliamentary initiatives to support the Uyghur, and on CANZUK.
Samantha is a Parliamentary Adviser for Lord Farmer. Samantha has made invaluable contributions to Lord Farmer's work, especially relating to improving prisoners’ family ties to prevent reoffending intergenerational crime. Samantha assisted Lord Farmer in producing two major reports which were both fully accepted and are currently being implemented by the Ministry of Justice. Thousands of prisoners and their families will have benefitted from the work which Samantha undertook, which will have lasting effect in preventing reoffending crime. Additionally, Samantha has also worked on promoting a children's domestic abuse initiative to Parliament, with the aim of promoting it in constituencies country wide.
Harriet is a Senior Parliamentary Assistant to Siobhan Baillie MP. Harriet has shown exceptional professionalism and efficiency since the beginning of 2020 when she joined Siobhan Baillie’s office. Following a number of abusive emails, calls and social media posts after the Stroud Conservative MP gave birth, Harriet helped her MP navigate the abuse while protecting her from the comments, allowing Siobhan to enjoy her new-born baby and make a full recovery. Harriet has displayed thoughtfulness and empathy towards her MP, helping her manage her maternity leave and making it possible for her to look after her constituents at the same time.
Collette is a Political Adviser for Jonathan Ashworth MP. Collette has worked for the Shadow Health Secretary during an extraordinarily challenging time to cover the health brief. From supporting the Shadow Health Secretary through his many appearances at the despatch box, to numerous early morning media rounds, Collette has ensured the entire shadow health team have been able to function effectively. Additionally, Collette has supported the wider work of the Labour Party, working non-stop to update briefs, answer enquiries from staffers and MPs and always making herself available to answer questions and support other offices. At a time when the health landscape has been ever changing, Collette has worked non-stop to ensure the entire parliamentary Labour Party are supported to understand the impact of COVID.
Kieran is a Senior Parliamentary Assistant for Luke Pollard MP. Kieran has been a driving force for many initiatives during the pandemic; from working with food banks and emergency food providers to helping the plight of dairy farmers in Westminster, he has helped to steer the office through a turbulent year. Even when faced with Coronavirus himself, Kieran took on increasing amounts of casework, continuing to help people and Parliamentary offices dealing with empty shelves, food poverty and helping farmers and food businesses who were facing ruin. Determined to enjoy and overcome every and any challenge he is presented with, Kieran is a dedicated member of staff who encourages the teams around him to strive for better.
Matthew is the Office Manager for Wes Streeting MP. As an Office Manager, Matthew has helped to build a strong and unified team for his MP that has always enjoyed working together. He has helped his MP Wes Streeting go from strength to strength which saw him appointed as a Shadow Minister for Schools in 2020. Additionally, Matthew empowers not just his MP but the staff he employs too, while offering valuable advice to members of his party, and by extension, his constituents also. Matthew holds himself to the highest of standards and has helped instil him his team a sense of the dignity of politics.
Keith is a Senior Parliamentary Researcher for Stewart McDonald MP. From his first life-saving liver operation at 12 weeks old, Keith has lived with liver disease that has been with him ever since. Last year, Keith had a life-changing liver transplant and has spent this year making a full, successful recovery and has transitioned back into his role as a Senior Parliamentary Researcher, where he has been a key asset in Stewart MacDonald’s office - championing his Private Member's Bill on unpaid work trials and advocating for more awareness of liver disease among young people. Keith is an example to other young people living with chronic liver disease that, while it may a daunting diagnosis, it should never stop you from achieving what you want from life.
Roberta is the Westminster Office Manager for Dr Lisa Cameron MP. Roberta's ongoing want to help others has led to many charities and causes gaining prevalence and support that they would otherwise not have gained without her help. Roberta has helped to bring mentoring onto the agenda for parliamentarians and was responsible for coordinating National Mentoring Week in Parliament which succeeded in signing up over 100 MPs, enabling 100 young people from underrepresented backgrounds to receive an invaluable mentoring experience. She has also worked with various teams to make the House more accessible for women and disabled people. Roberta's work reflects her belief that we must lead by example, elevating the profile of disability in Parliament and disability issues across other sectors.
Stacey is a Press Officer for the SNP Press Office. Stacey's uplifting and attentive manner is appreciated by everyone she works with, especially at a time when there is physical distance in the party due to the pandemic. In the face of challenging circumstances Stacey has continued to be a proactive and valuable member of the team which has shone through in the past few months and been felt and appreciated by many.
Catrina is a Veterinary Policy Researcher for Lord Trees. A brilliant researcher, Catrina provides concise and informative policy briefings on a diverse range of topics, helping to contribute to evidence-based policy making. Catrina’s thorough and rigorous research allows her colleagues to speak with authority on animal welfare, animal health and agricultural policy, enabling public engagement with these subject matters. She uses her position to inform and engage others in policy issues via social media, monthly journal articles and talks to veterinary audiences to increase awareness of how government policy and animals and the environment intersect. Outside her policy role, Catrina is Trustee for a community farm, bringing veterinary policy experience into the community.
Kate is the Private Secretary to the Convenor of the Crossbench Peers in the Clerk of the Parliaments' Office. Kate has played an essential role in supporting the Convenor in fulfilling his role for Crossbench Peers. From organising support for members who need adjustments for health reasons, to ensuring everyone has the information they need to fulfil their Parliamentary roles, Crossbench Peers have all benefitted from Kate's efficient organisational skills. Kate is an engaged and supportive member of the Clerk of the Parliament’s Office and since the start of the pandemic has organised opportunities for colleagues to keep in touch while working remotely, as well as sharing information on resources for colleagues on both physical and mental health.
Naimah is a Parliamentary Assistant in the Liberal Democrats Lords Whip’s Office. Naimah has established significant working relationships with staff across Parliament - from the Governments Whips Office to Opposition Offices. Flexible in the face of embracing new working practices, she has helped her Peers adapt to working remotely, teaching them how to use Zoom while also creating guidelines and tutorials for them to follow. Naimah contributed to developing a cross Party initiative to help peers participate in Virtual Proceedings while helping with any IT issues they had in a patient and knowledgeable manner.
Alasdair is a Senior Constituency Caseworker for the Rt Hon Mark Tami MP. Alasdair’s knowledge and interest in the workings of Universal Credit, combined with his past voluntary work at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, resulted in a change of law for people reaching state pension age. His outstanding work identifying an issue with Universal Credit led to Alasdair creating a campaign which gained national media interest and resulted in Government changing the law, making a huge difference to the lives of pensioners across the country. Working for an opposition MP, Alasdair’s successful campaign and change in the law has left pensioners £70m better off in the UK.
Ann is the Principle Secretary for Emma Lewell-Buck MP. Ann covers a wide range of responsibilities but one of her main roles has been liaising with local hunger charities and coordinating their projects and work in South Shields. By working tirelessly over a number of years, Ann has helped bring these local charities together into a co-operative network. Most recently, Ann has worked on a project to help mobile food deliveries to those who struggle to access foodbanks or advice services. This has led to partners creating a job opportunity for an individual in South Shields to develop this project further. Ann’s ability to conduct herself with the utmost professionalism, whilst also being approachable to all has led to many of her colleagues stating she is a joy to work alongside.
Hayley is the Office Manager & Senior Caseworker for Alex Davies-Jones MP. Hayley’s ability to manage an exceptional amount of casework combined with her hard-working attitude has seen a lasting impact in her constituency over the past year. During the peak of the coronavirus crisis, Hayley helped to repatriate constituents from all over the world, including an individual who has a long-term condition and was rapidly running out of medicine while trapped abroad. Hayley's work has had a lasting impact through what has been a difficult time for many. Faced with flooding in her constituency, Hayley set up a local fundraiser for residents, which raised more than seven times the initial target and was a vital lifeline for people whose livelihoods had been ruined.
James is the Office Manager for Ruth Edwards MP. From drafting policy responses to shortlisting candidates, James has worked on a multitude of tasks in his managerial role, often going above and beyond his call of duty. His dedication to helping constituents is unwavering and saw him move sandbags and save possessions in floodwaters outside residents’ homes, contact 4000 businesses over lockdown to offer support and put together a programme of visits for his MP over the summer, despite the restrictions of social distancing. James’s dedication, strong work ethic and fantastic attention to detail have made him a calming influence in the office and a central figure in ensuring the running of his constituency office.
The Customer Experience and Service Delivery Team has been essential to ensuring that the Parliamentary estate is a COVID secure environment for Members and parliamentary staff. Having physically adapted the whole estate through signage, assessing office space and creating systems to ensure cleanliness and safety, their work has been critical to underpin the change in mentality required by all users of the estate to keep each other safe. Through introducing innovative ways of working, the team has helped everyone adapt to the necessary changes while adapting their services to the needs of Members and staff.
The House of Commons Internal Communications team has played an important part in communicating with the UK's elected representatives as well as having a central role in Parliament's response to COVID-19. From publishing hundreds of pieces of internal communications to sending regular bulletins to Members and staff to communicate the impact of coronavirus on Parliament, the team have worked tirelessly to ensure the House is a secure place to work. Over the past year the team has also been working on many high-profile campaigns that have made a real impact within Parliament, including communications around the new House of Commons values in support of work to bring about cultural change.
The Parliamentary Digital Service has performed outstanding work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and have enabled the democratic workings of the House to continue. From the creation of two remote voting systems for both Houses, to the establishment of virtual proceedings and Select Committee meetings, the team has worked hard to effectively implement remote ways of working. The team has been patient, helpful and knowledgeable when helping peers get to grips with using new technologies and are always available to help Members with queries no matter how trivial, while delivering relevant training sessions to support use of new platforms and maximise effectiveness of remote working.
The Vote Office Publications Enquiries Team has provided an efficient and high-quality service to members and staff throughout the year. By effectively operating a shift and bubble system, the team has quickly adapted to new procedures and practises, while remaining an effective information service. Despite facing challenging conditions, they continue to deliver a high quality of service, including providing both paper and digital documents for debates and private members bills at short notice. The team is also comprised of relatively new staff members who all came together to work and operate effectively in this challenging year.
Hazel is the Private Secretary to Black Rod & Office Manager for the Black Rod’s Office. Hazel’s ability to treat every peer equally and follow through every query to the end has benefitted the whole department. Not only has she ensured that knowledge is shared, but she also sets up the department to succeed through continued training and self-development. Hazel interprets and executes policy effectively and professionally and is diplomatic in her dealings with other departments, while her vast knowledge and experience from other committees has led to her supporting the creation of new roles. The background work Hazel performs means the whole department is a success and she has been an invaluable member of the team during the uncertainty of this year.
John is the Director of Parliamentary Audio-Video in the Broadcasting Unit. John’s efforts in leading the Broadcasting Team have been vital in the continuation of business over lockdown and enabled Members to participate in business and scrutinise legislation when many of them were shielding. Through working closely with his team, John found innovative solutions which would allow members to participate in debates, resulting in over 500 members of the House of Lords actively benefitting from his work. John’s efforts to set-up virtual proceedings at short notice while managing competing demands, resulted in effective service to ensure the uninterrupted broadcasting of democracy – all of this while continuing with key services such as BSL interpretation of PMQs and COVID-debates.
Karen is the Service Delivery Coordinator for the IHS (Mobile Teams & Reception). Karen has provided invaluable help and support to everyone who has visited the reception of 1 Parliament Street. More than a friendly face behind a desk, Karen plays an essential role in helping Members ensure the smooth running of their offices while always finding the time to be of assistance. She is never too busy to provide help when needed and contributes to creating a supportive environment for members across the building, often going above and beyond for them, while also providing administrative assistance to allow the office to continue to function.
Louise is a Senior Specialist in the Chamber & Committee Team. A champion for diversity and inclusion, Louise has worked tirelessly to make important contributions in these fields to the House of Commons Service. By acting as a mentor in formal and informal roles, she has helped to coach colleagues working under pressure to maintain their confidence and complete their work on high-profile select committee inquiries. Gifted at making personal connections, Louise is able to translate these into organisational change, with tangible benefits to the institution, as seen with her efforts with the 'global voices' conference in Parliament. Louise has also supported colleagues and has encouraged them to contribute to efforts to make the House a more equal, diverse and inclusive workplace.
The Outreach & Engagement team have shown dedication and passion for developing a diverse and inclusive environment. The team have worked courageously and collaboratively to overcome challenges which uprooted the fundamental aspects of their roles this year. Through focussing on community delivery, the team were able to exceed their target of community sessions by 50%, sharing an understanding of the workings of Parliament and encouraging questions from participants. From moving their delivery model to a digital platform and providing resources for adults with learning disabilities, the team's dedication to inspiring the public has effected significant change despite the challenges of this year.
Roberta is the Secretariat for the APPG for Disability. Roberta’s central role in coordinating cross-party efforts for various causes has benefitted MPs and Peers across Parliament. From making the House more accessible to disabled people and women, to coordinating the largest equalities based open letter to the Prime Minister, Roberta’s commitments have elevated the profile of disability in Parliament as well as across other sectors. Responsible for introducing mentoring onto the agenda for parliamentarians, Roberta successfully signed up over 100 MPs for National Mentoring Week, enabling over 100 young people from underrepresented backgrounds to receive an invaluable mentoring experience in the hopes of encouraging them into politics.
Aleksandra is the Office Manager for Joy Morrissey MP. During the pandemic Aleksandra organised and ran the hero of Beaconsfield awards, which celebrated local individuals for their outstanding service to their community during lockdown. Without Aleksandra the campaign would not have taken place or revealed the hard work of constituents who served their community. Aleksandra has also established connections with local charities that help disabled children and run local foodbanks, highlighting the excellent work volunteers have been doing. Willing to help and visit her constituents when in need, Aleksandra cares deeply about connecting with and serving her wider community.
In the face of the year’s challenges, the Outreach and Engagement team, including Gary Hart, Clare Mullin, Malcolm Smith and Steve Williams, have shown dedication and passion for engaging the public in the work of Parliament. Gary has built partnerships with FE colleges in the North West, and in September delivered sessions to over 3,000 students on how Parliament works, how to register to vote and when to contact your MP. Clare’s commitment over the past decade to reaching women's and BAME groups is an inspiration to her colleagues. In 2020 she designed a set of resources highlighting the role of women in Parliament and adapted them to a digital platform. She also established strong links with community radio stations, promoting UK Parliament Week to an audience of 10,000 in Birmingham's black and Asian communities. Malcolm strives to reach groups who would otherwise be disengaged from Parliament. Through working with students on vocational courses Malcolm communicates the relevance of Parliament by thoroughly researching their subject areas to provide links to their day-to-day life. Participants go beyond theoretical ideas of democracy and are encouraged to take tangible action, such as registering to vote and starting petitions. Steve has worked hard to establish an outreach presence in Wales, providing sessions for schools and community groups in both English and his native Welsh. He has quickly and eﬀectively adapted his work for online presentation, having delivered the outreach team's ﬁrst online sessions within one week of restrictions coming in place. Steve has built a resilient foundation for outreach work in Wales, helping its residents to navigate their political system whatever their native language. The team’s eﬀort will see more people engaging with Parliament from across the country and will have a long-lasting eﬀect on individuals who wish to engage in democracy.
Shirley is the Office Manager for Jim McMahon OBE MP. A compassionate and hardworking individual, Shirley's passion for social justice and equality is demonstrated in her strong work ethic. Every single constituent and case she deals with is given her undivided attention and is guaranteed that she will work hard for every one of them. Shirley has made a huge different to thousands of people's lives and one of her most enduring accomplishments is the work she did in securing a statue of Oldham's suffragette, Annie Kenney, to outside the town hall in Parliament Square. Since working for the late Michael Meacher in the late 1990's, Shirley has been the heart and soul of the constituency.