The 2021 Geography in Government Awards opened for nominations in January, seeking examples of excellence in geography across the range of disciplines and organisations. The awards are now in their third year, and all the judges were impressed by the outstanding quality and range of examples the profession can offer. Once again, reading the nominations it was clear that geography in government is a broad profession with excellence across the public sector and a profession which is full of dedicated and talented individuals.
Although we’re again unable to host the award ceremony in person this year, the Government Geography Profession would like to take this opportunity to share the short listed nominations for each category. The virtual ceremony will take place on Thursday 27th May where the category winners will be announced, along with the overall winner. The overall winner is invited to the hugely prestigious Royal Geographical Society Awards, recognising the impact and importance of geography across the public sector.
Here are the shortlisted nominations for the category of "Excellence in emergency response", along with a short description of the work in alphabetical order.
Geographic Information Science & Analysis Team (GISAT), Scottish Government
COVID Testing Policy Analyses
Throughout 2020, GISAT provided invaluable geographic expertise by delivering vital mapping and spatial analyses for Scotland’s COVID response, ranging from daily mapping of cases data to complex accessibility analyses of testing and vaccination centres, and mixing at beauty spots. A specific example of contribution to emergency response, policy-making and operational delivery is the ongoing work for the Testing Policy team on the accessibility of testing centres. This included suggesting optimal locations for new sites, providing an empirical basis to support decisions on the types of centres required, enabling the Testing Policy team to maximise the reach of Scotland’s testing infrastructure.
NIMA Support Team (NST), Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI), Dept. of Finance (Northern Ireland)
Supporting and transforming Northern Ireland’s public sector emergency planning, response and recovery infrastructures with geographic information and technologies
Northern Ireland (NI) public sector emergency planning, response and recovery organisations depend on spatial information and technologies to deliver public services. To leverage and optimise the benefits of geographic information, many rely on NIMA Support Team (NST) to support and enhance these services. NST’s contributions are evident in the NI Civil Service (NICS) response to COVID-19: NST staff collaborate with regional emergency preparedness groups, Councils, NICS departments, The Executive Office (TEO), and NI Assembly (NIA) to deliver diverse work packages in support of a coordinated and effective emergency response to the pandemic and in preparation for future emergencies.
PHE GIS Team, Emergency Preparedness Division
Demonstrating the value and importance of flexible and scalable geographical data and tools in supporting a pandemic
The PHE GIS Team have made a significant contribution to the COVID-19 response, providing a flexible, responsive service locally, nationally and internationally. This included supporting technical advances, developing enhanced visualisation tools, providing geographical support to inform operational decision making and policy on geographical variation. Working 24/7, they ensured a response underpinned by robust geographical data, supported by various geographical tools. Their championing and support to the delivery of geographical data including UPRN and property classifications ensured that the importance of this data was recognised as instrumental aspects of how we understand and importantly make best use of geographical data.