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Tech leaders recognised for social, cultural and economic innovations

Technology sector trade body TechUK has recognised four pioneering industry leaders for their work in using digital innovation to effect social, cultural or economic improvements in the UK.

In its second annual President’s Awards, the organisation chose winners who it says are “going above and beyond” to use technology for good.

The winners in each of the four award categories were:

People

The People Award focuses on individuals making a demonstrable impact on wellbeing, skills and diversity and inclusion. The 2024 winner is  Chris Whitehouse, customer experience director at data consultancy Collaboraite.

Whitehouse developed a tool called Welfare Assist to protect the welfare of online investigators exposed to graphic and disturbing images within defence and law enforcement. His aim was to use data-driven tools to mitigate exposure to harmful content to protect investigators’ mental wellbeing, while enabling the collection of intelligence vital to a successful investigation.

Economy

The Economy category rewards people for enabling improvements, mitigating risk, protecting funds, facilitating advancements in financial planning and supporting the growth of the economy

The winner of this award is Toby Jones, chief executive of public sector-focused services firm TJC. Jones created the Accelerated Capability Environment (ACE), a unit within the Homeland Security Group in the Home Office, which tackles public safety and security challenges arising from digital and data technology. ACE has lowered barriers to entry for small businesses wanting to engage in public sector projects and provided government with access to cutting-edge technology capabilities and expertise while also supporting SME growth and new product development.

Society

The Society Award recognises someone who is enabling society at all levels to work, live and interact better, enable growth and deliver value. The winner is Jennifer Neff, managing director of Access Elemental, which provides social prescribing software to GPs and other frontline healthcare professionals.

Neff’s team supports over 20 million people across the UK, Ireland, and Australia to improve community wellbeing. Her work addresses key social determinants of health including debt, housing, and loneliness, while also reducing the demand on health and social care services. Her tech-for-good approach has helped people in deprived areas, creating jobs and fostering social innovation.

Planet

The Planet category focuses on helping to protect and nurture the planet.  The winner is Eric Zie, CEO and founder of GoCodeGreen, a company that aims to reduce the carbon and environmental impact of digital products and services.

Zie promotes sustainability in the digital sector by identifying opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and energy usage, and lower costs for organisations. GoCodeGreen is also working with less-developed nations on digital transformation, finding ways to create strategies for a cleaner, sustainable digital future.

A force for good

Sheila Flavell, chief operating officer of FDM Group and Tech UK president, said: “The people celebrated are true visionaries of the power that technology can have as a force for good. These exceptional people are going above and beyond to demonstrate the role digital innovation can have on people, society, the economy and the planet.”

Nicola Hodson, deputy president of TechUK and CEO for IBM UK and Ireland, added: “We continue to be impressed by the quality of submissions we receive for the President’s Award. This year’s winners are a clear demonstration of the outstanding work of TechUK members in leveraging technology to bring positive change at scale.”

Computer Weekly is a media partner for the TechUK President’s Awards.

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