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 "Impact on policy", along with a short description of the work in alphabetical order.
Benchmark Team, Geovation – Propositions and Innovation – Ordnance Survey
Benchmark Programme and Locus Charter
The Benchmark Initiative was created by Omidyar Network and Ordnance Survey to increase awareness of the many potential risks of using location data, to identify ethical principles, and to promote good practice. Benchmark also supports international collaboration to agree and promote a shared view of what good practice with location data looks like, in the form of the Locus Charter. The Benchmark Initiative has also raised awareness of ethical use of location data through a series of events as well as a support programme for entrepreneurs, whose businesses are showcasing amazing examples of ethical use of location data.
Future Farming Insights and Evaluation Team, Defra
Lived Experiences of the English Farming Community – Listening to Farmers to Shape Agricultural Policy Reform
2020 was a year of challenge and change for farmers. EU-Exit and Covid-19, on top of business-as-usual challenges such as extreme weather and disease. DEFRA needed to draw on the best evidence to design policies which make the transition from EU Common Agricultural Policy to domestic policy as effective and smooth as possible. The Insights and Evaluation Team were central to building up this evidence base in an approach which put farmers at the heart of policy making. We used social research methods to provide policy colleagues with a nuanced understanding of farming life, ensuring policies can work ‘on the ground’.
Geospatial Commission – Public Sector Contracts, Cabinet Office
Public Sector Geospatial Agreement
The team worked tirelessly to negotiate and agree the single largest Government investment in geospatial data and services – the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA). This is a £1Bn investment in data, software, technology and customer support,which secures continued access to world-leading data, whilst also stimulating innovation in public and private sectors. The PSGA includes the Open MasterMap policy which improves the accessibility of Ordnance Survey data by the provision of more data under open terms, as well as free thresholds for use via a series of new APIs.