17 August 2023 | Collaboration | Our Work

DfT Special Recognition Awards: Spotlight on previous winners

Ahead of this year’s DfT Special Recognition Awards, the Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG) will be highlighting some of our previous winners. This week, Kully Boden – Streetpride Service Manager for Highways Maintenance at Derby City Council – talks to LCRIG about what winning an award meant to her and highlights the importance of innovation, skills and net zero. 


Q. What did winning a DfT Special Recognition Award mean to you? 

A. ”I received the award in the first year of LCRIG and it was presented by the legend himself Steve Berry OBE.  I was awarded it for work on implementing the Well Managed Highway Code of Practice in 2019. It was such an achievement for the whole team and a great accomplishment for me to see the team’s work valued at a national level.  I appreciate the team’s hard work and efforts every day.  Derby maybe small, but we can achieve great things.”


Q. Why should people and organisations enter the awards?

A. ”It recognises the hard work and efforts of our greatest assets – passionate people who want to do a great job.  It also adds to the reputation and credibility of the organisation.  My Team Leader joined Derby two years ago on the basis of what he’d seen and heard about our efforts to implement a full asset management approach to everything we do and his contribution to the team since has carried on that ethos.”


Q. Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of entering?

A. ”There is an art to writing a good entry, but read the criteria and stick to it. Be concise and keep to the word count. Stress outcomes over outputs – tell them how you made a difference!”


Q. Why is innovation so important to your council?

A. ”It goes without saying that local authority funding is at its most stretched.  We have to be more efficient than ever in how we do things and innovation can only aid us to streamline our processes or provide data that helps make much more informed and defendable decisions on where investment should be made.  It’s not a change that should be feared.  Personally, I think it makes us better people to accept that we don’t always know it all and we don’t have all the answers. Innovation helps push us forward to think outside the box more.”


Q. What actions need to be taken to ensure the industry attracts a younger and more diverse workforce?

A. ”Understand how Millennials, Gen Z and Alpha think – what is important to them in choosing a job/career opportunity.  Planning for succession is no use unless you have structured your prospects around what will make young people want to come and want to stay with your organisation. P.S. – and it’s not because we offer a great pension!”


Q. What more needs to be done to ensure the sector reaches net zero? 

A. ”It’s still not being taken seriously enough I think. This isn’t going away. There is no point waiting to see what other authorities are doing. Work with your supply chain to calculate your baseline carbon emissions and projected estimated emissions and work innovatively to challenge your processes. Derby City are in the process of taking every single member of the Highways workforce through carbon literacy training, from Head of Service to Operative. Own the issue and be personally accountable of your choices and actions when delivering the service.”


The Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG) are proud to be hosting the prestigious Special Recognition Awards on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT), which were established by the late Steve Berry OBE, the Department for Transport’s former Head of Highways Maintenance, Innovation and Resilience. The awards recognise companies and individuals who have gone the extra mile to deliver change in the sector.

The winners will be announced at the DfT Special Recognition Awards ceremony on the evening of 4th October. The awards form part of Strictly Highways, which will take place from 3-5 October in The Ballroom at Winter Gardens, Blackpool, and are a fantastic way to generate positive publicity, enhance your company profile, reward team success and network.

If you would like to nominate a colleague, project or initiative that has gone the extra mile, you can submit your entries on the event platform HERE

This year’s award categories are:

Best use of technology in the Highways and Transportation sector – sponsored by Stabilised Pavements Ltd 

This award will provide recognition to an organisation or partnership that can demonstrate the best use of technology within the highways and transportation sector.

The Transport Technology Innovation award – sponsored by the Transport Technology Forum (TTF) 

This award will recognise transformative innovations that will successfully address the evolving demands and future challenges faced by the highways and transportation sector.

Collaborative Partnership (between council(s) and supply chain) – sponsored by Tensar 

This award will provide recognition to outstanding partnerships, collaborations, or joint initiatives that have significantly contributed to the advancement and improvement of the highways and transportation sector.

Net Zero Project of the Year – sponsored by JCB 

This award will recognise an outstanding innovation project delivered by an organisation/partnership that has demonstrably contributed to accelerating or reducing the cost of decarbonisation. The project will evidence a reduction in environmental impacts, managing embedded carbon within construction and reducing air pollution.

Employer Initiative of the Year award – sponsored by WJ Group 

This award will recognise an outstanding initiative delivered by an organisation that has demonstrably contributed to supporting the retention of employees and/or encouraged new employees into the sector. The initiative may also have demonstrated a wider social value impact, e.g. through creating employment opportunities within local communities.

Highways Apprentice of the Year – sponsored by Gaist

The Highways Apprentice of the Year Award aims to recognise and celebrate outstanding apprentices who have made significant contributions and have had a positive impact on their course, their workplace or the wider highways sector during their apprenticeship. This prestigious award acknowledges the dedication, skills and commitment demonstrated by apprentices as they progress in their career.

Best of Britain Award – sponsored by Multevo 

This award, inspired by Will Britain, the founder of LCRIG, was introduced in 2022 to celebrate a public sector individual that works on the officer or Manager side of a local authority. We know there a number of people in these roles that often have to balance, public, political, financial and community challenges but regardless of this they try and find the best solutions for their local community and do so with a passion to make things better. We want to celebrate those that have gone above and beyond to engage with their local community, improve local services, change local perceptions or play a key part in the sector.

Entries are now open!

Please visit the Strictly Highways event website HERE to view the award criteria and submit your entries.

The DfT Special Recognition Awards are open to all.

Please note: Winning entries will be required to be represented at the awards ceremony.  Individual places at the awards ceremony are still available. For more information, please contact us.

Public sector fully-funded places still available!

To find out more and book your place, please visit the Strictly Highways website here.

Image source: LCRIG