DWP’s Mayank Prakash nominated for Digital Leader of the year award

Written by Rebecca Hill on 10 May 2017 in News

This year's DL100 shortlist sees Defra’s fishing licence service competing with DWP’s Check Your State Pension and Scottish government’s CivTech initiatives for digital public service innovation of the year

Mayank Prakash has been listed as a finalist for the 2017 Digital Leaders awards - Photo credit: Dods

The Digital Leaders network has announced the finalists for its annual Digital Leaders awards, which aims to promote “effective, long-term digital transformation” in government and industry.

Among those nominated is the Department for Work and Pensions’ director general of digital transformation, Mayank Prakash, who has been nominated for the digital leader of the year award.

He is the only finalist from central government, with local government seeing one nomination - Lisa Dawson, digital inclusion officer at Your Homes Newcastle and Newcastle City Council.

Other finalists on the list include the Good Things Foundation’s Helen Milner and Fred Langford of the Internet Watch Foundation.

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Prakash - who only took over as the sole head of DWP’s digital reforms in August last year, after the then business transformation director Kevin Cunnington left to join the Government Digital Service - was last year named CIO of the year at the UK IT Industry Awards.

At that time, there were rumours that the department was reviewing a number of digital projects, but Prakash hit back, saying that the way it works has changed over time.

“DWP is a very different place,” Prakash said. “No longer is our focus on managing long term contracts with a few big suppliers. We own iterative outcomes by designing, developing and iterating our digital services, as we build partnerships with a range of innovative partners.”

He also praised the work of his department when accepting the award, saying it had been a team effort. The department has also been nominated for the digital public service innovation of the year award in DL100, for its Check Your State Pension service, which went into public beta last year.

Other finalists in this category include the Environment Agency’s ‘I want to fish’ for people to check and apply for fishing licences, and the Scottish government’s CivTech scheme, which aims to boost innovation by allowing potential suppliers to compete in open challenges rather than closed tenders.

CivTech was originally piloted in June, but the government said earlier this year that it had “gained significant traction” and was to be expanded, and this week launched the second phase of the work.

The DL100 awards also include a category for digital council of the year, with finalists including Camden, Aylesbury Vale, Renfrewshire, and Manchester City Council, as well as the Greater London Authority - which is running a pilot of a London Office for Data Analytics across the London boroughs and now planning an office for technology and innovation.

Last year’s winner in this category was Wigan Council, and the authority’s Alison McKenzie-Folan told PublicTechnology afterwards that its success had been partly down to a concerted effort to get political buy-in to the somewhat disparate digital initiatives the council was undertaking.

Meanwhile, the Crown Commercial Service has been nominated for the DL100 cyber resilience innovation of the year for its efforts to help protect public sector customers when buying cyber security services, and HM Courts and Tribunals has been shortlisted for mobile innovation of the year for its ushers digital clipboard service.

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