Today I was awarded a CBE in the 2014 New Year’s Honours list. It was made in recognition of the digital transformation of public services, and for working to develop football in the borough of Hackney.
While a lovely recognition, it is, of course, largely symbolic. I am delighted to accept it on behalf of others.
Public services are delivered by over 400,000 colleagues in the Civil Service, the vast majority working in front-line services under challenging conditions. In an era of public sector austerity they should take the plaudits. Introducing digital transformation to public services is a huge but necessary challenge at any time. Given the current demand for Government digital services from users and business in the UK, and over 15 years of disinvestment in developing digital skills in the Civil Service, it’s little wonder that this challenge feels existential on occasion.
In this context, the work of my colleagues in GDS to create the Government’s digital platform, www.gov.uk, and their ongoing digital transformation of our leading transactions is worthy of much praise. Whether it is the work of the Department of Work and Pensions team on Carers Allowance in Preston, the Ministry of Justice teams in Birmingham and Nottingham who are making Lasting Powers of Attorney a digital service or the team in Glasgow who are making Student finance a truly digital transaction, its their teamwork and commitment to user needs which enables me to receive this award.
On the football side, it has been a privilege to be Chairman of Sporting Hackney FC for the last 6 years and a member since 1993/4. Its committee, past and present, should be applauded for how well this FA Charter club has represented the borough for 27 years. The recent signing of the Community Use Agreement between the club and Hackney Council to develop youth and adult football is a great commitment to community football in London.
There are too many people to mention in both these areas, so I will mention just one. My brother Chris. He received a military commendation in 1996. His work will always have more importance than mine. And I will always be his annoying kid brother.