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The Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

By Paul Ayris, on 11 December 2019

Library Services staff shine at UCL Professional Service Awards 2019

The UCL Professional Services December Awards took place on Tuesday 10th December at Elvin Hall in the UCL Institute of Education. Fiona Ryland, Chief Operating Officer, presented the awards at a well-attended ceremony complete with mince pies and prosecco as well as the UCL Jazz Society.

In her introductory remarks, the COO stressed that the One PS vision is for all colleagues in professional services to feel part of one community across UCL (including staff based in central Professional Services Divisions, Vice-Provosts’ Offices, Faculties and departments). As the quality of the nominated entries showed, UCL has some outstanding people working for the university. The key focus for improvement is not the people but the systems, policies and environment within which we operate.  Fiona also highlighted the Improvement Board as an example of how UCL is gathering input from all staff to identify key issues and make a difference to how things are done at UCL.

The awards were based on the UCL Ways of Working, with 7 awards presented on the day. Library Services staff were well-represented in the shortlisted entries. Out of over 170 entries from across all UCL Professional Services, there were 40 shortlisted nominations and 4 of these recognised exceptional work by Library Services staff. And as the winners were announced, it was a source of great pride that not one but two members of Library Services staff won awards!

Personal Excellence Award winner: Breege Whiten (joint winner with Caitlin Broadbent in Brain Sciences).

This award recognises a person who demonstrates integrity, outstanding service and commitment to UCL.

Breege is a librarian, who also volunteers for a number of key roles within Library Services, such as Departmental Equal Opportunity Liaison Officer (DEOLO), and Customer Service Excellence (CSE) Champion, on top of the day-to-day management of her library team.  She takes all of her roles very seriously, and actively lobbies to make Library Services fairer, more inclusive, more communicative and more reflective. She has also led on a number of the customer service initiatives, which helped in Library Services’ recent, successful application for CSE accreditation.

Community Spirit Award winner: Noel Caliste. This award recognises an individual who demonstrates an example of doing amazing things beyond the boundaries of UCL and makes a personal impact in the broader community.

Noel has organised the logistics, planning and operations of UCL’s attendance at London and Black Pride during July 2019. This attendance was the largest and most visible representation UCL has ever undertaken at both LGBTQ+ Pride events. Without this enormous effort to produce new and inclusive publicity materials (e.g. BAME LGBTQ+ staff specifically represented in logos), essential refreshments and hospitality, create important health and safety overviews and overseeing responsibility for a group of 60 staff, students and supporters on the day itself, UCL would not have been represented at this event.

As a volunteer, leading UCL’s largest and most active equality Staff Network, his efforts in this event planning, management and delivery have been included in UCL’s entry to the national benchmarking tool of LGBTQ+ employers (the Stonewall Employers Index). This voluntary work has been undertaken around his full-time role and its value stands UCL on a greater footing in LGBTQ+ equality awards and in being increasingly acknowledged as a fully inclusive employer.

I personally have conveyed my congratulations to all successful colleagues and I do so again. Special congratulations to Breege and Noel for their work which has been recognised through these awards.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

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