Celebrating smarter working successes in the public sector


Over the last 12 months, the Government Property Agency (GPA) has been working closely with a number of partners to deliver a conference and awards show celebrating smarter working in the public sector.

Though COVID-19 brought with it some of the biggest changes to the ways of working we’ve ever seen, nominations for the awards portion of Smarter Working Live actually closed in February, before it had even reached pandemic status here in the UK.

Over the last nine months, it has become clear to all just how important smarter working is, and the need for its principles of flexibility and resilience to shape our long-term approach to ways of working.

Supporting Smarter Working Live

Organised by our partners GovNewsDirect and Pendulum Media, what started off last November as a typical conference and awards show, with physical venues and exhibition stands, quickly had to morph into something new in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s Smarter Working Live was a wholly virtual event and members of GPA’s smarter working team worked with the event organisers to pull together an agenda packed full of expert speakers from across the public and private sectors, as well as virtual workshops, live lounges and exhibitions.

The conference and awards ceremony went ahead on Thursday 26 November and was a great success with 1,000 attendees. A number of GPA colleagues presented at the conference, including our CEO Steven Boyd who spoke about the celebration of places, GPA’s Director of Workplace Services Dominic Brankin who delivered the opening address and chaired the plenary sessions, and GPA’s Smarter Working Programme Director Kate Guthrie, and Head of Business Change Jenny Baynes who both talked about celebrating smarter working.

The plenary sessions were the highlight of the event for many, with close to 300 joining in the sessions.

Smarter Working Live awards

After the conference ended, we moved into the awards part of the evening with Minister Julia Lopez, Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office, delivering the opening remarks.

Throughout the awards ceremony, sponsors of Smarter Working Live announced which organisations had won in each category.

The winners of the evening were:


  • Workplace and workspace transformation: Defence Infrastructure Organisation – Smarter Working Programme
  • Asset management innovation: Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council – Tameside One
  • Efficiency in the property portfolio: NHS Property Services – 120 The Broadway
  • Best use of a solution: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust – The Same Day Emergency Care Unit


  • Corporate leadership, management and culture: HM Revenue and Customs – Smarter Ways of working – simply the way we do things here
  • Skills and succession planning: Department for Education – Building Skills for Smarter Working in DfE
  • Workforce management – NHS London Procurement Partnership – The Workforce Alliance Permanent and Temporary Staffing Solutions Suite
  • Best use of a solution – Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust – Implementation of Auto Planner within District Nursing


  • Automation (digital, robotic, AI): West Midlands Police – Centre for Applied Automation
  • Data and interoperability: Nottinghamshire County Council – Business Intelligence – Power B.I. Dashboards
  • Paperless: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency – The Driving Examiner Services App
  • Best use of a solution: DWP Digital – Data Control Service


  • Unified communications: Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council – #DigitalFirst
  • Efficiency savings: NHS Digital – Health and Social Care Network: Better Connectivity for Health
  • Small scale project: NHS Business Services Authority – Am I Exempt?
  • Best use of a solution: London Ambulance Service NHS Trust – Collaboration with GoodSAM

Special Recognition

  • Special recognition of a project: Education and Skills Funding Agency – AMSD Knowledge Management and Smarter Working
  • Smarter working project of the year: Department for Education – Building a Culture of Smarter Working in DfE

We would like to congratulate all of this year’s finalists as well as the winners – even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, you were all making great strides toward smarter working maturity. We hope the lessons learned this year will inform and help shape future workforce strategies.

If you registered for Smarter Working Live, you can access the workshops and speaker sessions on your event account for the next 30 days, and watch the awards to learn about the winning projects.

If you’re in a public sector organisation and would like to find out more about GPA’s Smarter Working Programme, please contact: gpasmartworkingqueries@gpa.gov.uk


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