Network Awards 2020: setting the standard

Network Awards 2020: setting the standard
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Following a successful inaugural year in 2019, the Network Awards will return on 17th March 2020, shining a light on the good work taking place across the UK's energy networks, their supply chains and stakeholders.

  

Here, we highlight the 15 award categories, including a new category for 2020, and what the judges will be looking for. 

Find full details of the awards, including our guide to submitting your entry, visit our website here

 

Apprentice of the Year

With the energy and engineering industry facing a major and growing shortage of skills, apprenticeship schemes have never been more important. Networks and their partners are leading the way in bringing new talent into the industry, and this award will recognise the industry's stars of the future.

The judges will be looking for:
  • Apprentices that are in the process of or have recently completed accredited apprenticeships with a network or one of their partners
  • Apprentices that have already made a quantifiable contribution to the business and/or its customers and other stakeholders, that goes beyond the requirements of their course
  • Evidence of passion for and commitment to a career in energy networks.  

 

Contractor of the Year  

The network industry relies on its contractors and supply chain partners to drive forward best practice in construction, innovative techniques and sustainability, while maintaining high health and safety and employment standards.

This award will recognise the contractor which can best demonstrate a combination of commercial success, agenda-setting innovation, environmental stewardship and workforce best practice through its work in 2019.

The judges will be looking for:
  • Quantifiable evidence of innovation, and of the benefits this has created for businesses, customers and other stakeholders
  • A commitment to sustainability
  • A robust and profitable business model
  • A business that develops its staff and looks after both staff and the public, with a strong record in health and safety
  • A business that genuinely engages with customers and other stakeholders, and is able to demonstrate how this engagement has shaped its strategy.  

 

Cross Vector Project of the Year - NEW 

This award will recognise a project that takes a "whole system" approach, with consideration of electricity, gas, heat and other cross-vector industries, as well as taking into account other network-led and wider industry work.

Entrants should demonstrate how their project has led to the facilitation of whole system outcomes, proven collaboration across industries and is helping to meet decarbonisation targets.

The judges will be looking for:
  • An outstanding record of collaboration, reflected by multi-vector thinking
  • Evidence of a commitment to a whole system approach, and a record of embedding it into the project
  • How the project has taken into account wider industry work, for example the Future Power System Architecture (FPSA) initiative
  • How the project is helping to drive decarbonisation across a number of vectors

 

Data project of the year

The emergence of ‘big data' presents significant challenges and opportunities to networks and their partners. Networks need effective systems that make the right information available to the right people at the right time. Working closely with IT, technology and communications companies and through human resource training, networks can make rapid improvements to their efficiency and cost base by strategic use of data. Best practice will be recognised for data projects and technologies that produce efficiency gains, customer benefit, safer working, cost reductions, more sustainable outcomes.

The judges will be looking for:
  • Quantifiable evidence of how the project benefited the business and its customers and/or other stakeholders
  • Evidence of innovation that goes beyond business as usual
  • Learnings for the wider industry. 

 

Engineering Project of the Year

Solving engineering challenges is often at the core of the network industry's work. This award recognises the engineering project that best demonstrates how technical skills, teamwork and innovative thinking have combined in a solution to a problem that has resulted in lasting benefits to service provision, customers or the environment.

The judges will be looking for:
  • Evidence of quantifiable benefit to the business and its customers, and/or other stakeholders
  • Evidence of innovation and a creative approach to technical problem solving
  • Evidence of technical skill
  • Evidence of ambition, and of impact or learnings for the wider engineering community.

 

Health and Safety Initiative of the Year

This award recognises exceptional commitment to all-round health and safety by a company or organisation within the industry. Entrants must demonstrate an innovative, robust and high-quality safety management system and evidence of health and safety performance that goes beyond statutory requirements.

The judges will be looking for:
  • An initiative that successfully improved health and safety performance, of either staff or the general public, or both
  • Evidence that this initiative is supported by a strong health and safety culture within the business
  • Evidence that the initiative will have ongoing health and safety benefits for the business's workforce, partners and customers. 

 

Heat Network Project of the Year

A large percentage of the UK's carbon emissions come from heat - but the challenge of decarbonising how we heat our homes and businesses has lagged behind the arguably more glamorous decarbonisation of power generation. Heat networks, however, have led the way in providing an alternative approach, and are fast gaining popularity across the country, as new providers pile into the sector. This award recognises an outstanding heat network project with a demonstrable commitment to sustainability, and to the communities it serves.

The judges will be looking for:
  • Evidence of innovation - how is this heat network project offering something new to the market, and providing an alternative to traditional heating solutions?
  • Evidence of commitment to the communities the heat network project serves, and of stakeholder engagement that goes above and beyond business as usual
  • Evidence of a robust and sustainable business model. 

 

Innovation Project of the Year - Electricity          

Electricity networks are using innovation funding from Ofgem's Network Innovation Competition (NIC) and Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) to help reshape the operational and technical performance of the sector. This award will recognise outstanding electricity projects that have received innovation funding.

The judges will be looking for:
  • Projects that have produced quantifiable benefits for customers and other stakeholders
  • Projects that have the potential to create benefits across the industry, where learnings have been effectively shared
  • Projects that have created genuine business change, with findings successfully embedded into business as usual.

 

Innovation Project of the Year - Gas

Gas networks are using innovation funding from Ofgem's Network Innovation Competition (NIC) and Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) to help reshape the operational and technical performance of the sector. This award will recognise outstanding gas projects that have received innovation funding.

The judges will be looking for:
  • Projects that have produced quantifiable benefits for customers and other stakeholders
  • Projects that have the potential to create benefits across the industry, where learnings have been effectively shared
  • Projects that have created genuine business change, with findings successfully embedded into business as usual. 

 

Partnership Initiative of the Year

At all stages of the supply chain, the industry is pioneering effective partnerships between network operators, SMEs, contractors and subcontractors. Working closely through partnerships can produce major improvements in efficiency, customer service and overall performance.

This award will recognise an alliance, or other form of collaborative partnership, that has delivered outstanding benefits in the last year.

The judges will be looking for:
  • Evidence of the benefits of collaborative working
  • Partnerships that have delivered quantifiable benefits for all their partners, for customers and for other stakeholders
  • Evidence of longevity and a commitment to the partnership's future, where appropriate. 

 

Stakeholder Engagement Initiative of the Year

Stakeholder engagement is a core element of RIIO1, with significant reputational and financial incentives. The enhanced emphasis on engagement under the RIIO framework has led to better engagement between network companies and their stakeholders.

This award recognises breakthroughs in stakeholder engagement, and seeks examples of where networks have gone above and beyond their statutory requirements.

The judges will be looking for:
  • Quantifiable evidence of how engagement has benefited stakeholders
  • Evidence of going beyond regulatory requirements and business as usual
  • Evidence of how the engagement, or the learnings/benefits from the engagement, will be embedded into the business in future  

 

The ‘Gamechanger' Award (for new products/technologies) - Networks

As energy networks prepare for a radically different future, they are seeking new products and technologies that will help them meet changing customer needs efficiently and effectively. This award will recognise the new technology or product that is most likely to change the game for networks, with potential to create lasting benefits for the business, its customers and other stakeholders.

The judges will be looking for:
  • Evidence of innovation - does this product or technology help utilities do something genuinely new or different, that goes beyond business as usual?
  • Quantifiable evidence of the benefit the product creates, for the business, its customers and other stakeholders
  • Evidence of applicability across the industry: could this product or technology help more than one network business?

  

The ‘Gamechanger' Award (for new products/technologies) - Non-Networks

Network companies are now working with a wider range of companies and technology providers, including those with new business models, that want to enter the energy market.

This is paving the way for quicker and better solutions to managing the networks. This award will recognise a non-network company that has developed a product or technology which is being used by a network to help them with their operations.

The judges will be looking for:
  • Evidence of innovation - does this product or technology help networks do something genuinely new or different, that is helping them with their operations?
  • Quantifiable evidence of the benefit the product/technology creates, for the business, its customers and other stakeholders
  • Evidence of applicability across the industry: could this product or technology help more than one network business?

 

Network of the Year

Network companies not only have a primary duty to serve their customers well today, but are also asked to prepare for the energy system of tomorrow through innovative practices, the smart use of technology and dynamic change to their business models.

This award will recognise the network company which can best demonstrate a combination of customer service, agenda-setting innovation, operational resilience and workforce best practice through its work in 2019.

The judges will be looking for:
  • An outstanding record of delivery, with a strong operational performance, reflected in high customer satisfaction scores
  • An excellent record of stakeholder engagement, and the ability to demonstrate how this has shaped the business's strategy
  • Evidence of a commitment to innovation, and a record of embedding innovation back in to business as usual
  • Evidence of a strong approach to sustainability within the organisation
  • A strong regulatory, and robust financial performance, that reflects best practice with regard to coporate governance and financial transparency.

     

Special Award: Lifetime Achievement 

This award will recognise the network personality whose achievements will stand the test of time, creating an impact beyond their direct roles and responsibilities, to the benefit of the wider sector.

The award will acknowledge the winner's sustained achievements within the energy network industry during a distinguished career. The winner of this award will be selected by the Network team with input from the judging panel.

 

For further details on the Network Awards, including the judging process and details of how to submit your entry, visit the website. Entries must be completed by a deadline of 29th November.

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