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2021 Risk Excellence Awards

Now in its 4th year, the IIRSM awards celebrates risk excellence - protecting people, reputation and profits.  

The awards are independent and free to enter, recognising innovative individuals, teams and organisations responsible for implementing best practice in managing risks and opportunities. 

Whether you work for a large multinational with big budgets and lots of resources, or an SME or charity with small budgets and limited resources - the principles and benefits of risk management equally apply. Good risk management practice at all levels within an organisation is fundamental to support strategy development, operational performance and a strong reputation.

Being a finalist, highly commended or winning provides a truly independent recognition of your hard work, and showcases your successes and achievements to employers, customers, clients and others.

It has been a real pleasure celebrating the achievements and hard work of our finalists and winners since we launched the awards in 2018, and we are excited about recognising and celebrating with our 2021 finalists and winners.

Click here to watch our 2020 winners' video 

2021 Awards Categories

When submitting your awards applications, please note, some or all of the work and benefits need to have been achieved between May 2020 and February 2021. 

Download and read the full terms and conditions at the bottom of this page. You may also want to look at our FAQs.

Barry Holt Award - Outstanding Risk Management Practice

Barry Holt was an advocate of the risk  profession, well known for his academic accomplishments and knowledge. He worked with IIRSM from 2010 until his death in 2016. He spent 35 years providing consultancy and training services to many of today’s best recognised global industrial brands. This award acknowledges those that demonstrate excellence in risk management benefiting people, society or business.

Award criteria

Open to individuals, teams, partnerships or organisations that can demonstrate innovation, collaboration and excellence in risk management, contributing to the success of an organisation and its stakeholders.

Judges will be looking for:

  • A clear link between a risk management initiative and organisational goals. 
  • The impact the initiative had on organisational culture. 
  • What makes the initiative stand out. 
  • Evidence of the benefits the initiative has brought the individual, team, partnership or organisation. 


Entries are open to all and a supporting reference from a client, customer, manager, or other relevant stakeholder will be required.

International Risk Initiative of the Year

The award recognises effective risk management across multiple global locations. 

Award criteria 

Judges will be looking for:

  • Evidence of a strategic approach to managing risks across geographical locations. 
  • Evidence of how culture, values and employer brand are applied to different regions. 
  • Knowledge sharing across countries. 


Entries are open to all and can be submitted by individuals, teams and organisations. A supporting reference from a client, customer, manager, or other relevant stakeholder will be required.

SME Risk Initiative of the Year

This award recognises small and medium-sized businesses (fewer than 250 employees and not part of a group of large companies) that have transformed the way they manage risks in support of their objectives.

Award criteria 

Judges will be looking for:

  • How your approach to managing risks has changed. 
  • How you overcame any barriers or challenges. 
  • What makes your initiative stand out and how you have been innovative. 
  • Evidence that the changes made have directly brought benefits to your people and organisation. 


Entries are open to all and can be submitted by individuals, teams and organisations. A supporting reference from a client, customer, manager, or other relevant stakeholder will be required.

Health and Wellbeing Strategy of the Year

This award recognises employers which have a clear health and wellbeing strategy that is both preventative and proactive in approach, and is at the centre of the organisation.

Award criteria 

Judges will be looking for:

  • A strategy that focuses on both physical and mental health wellbeing. 
  • How leadership has driven the strategy across the organisation. 
  • How the strategy has been effectively integrated within day-to-day operations. 
  • Quantifiable business improvements. 


Entries are open to all and can be submitted by individuals, teams and organisations. A supporting reference from a client, customer, manager, or other relevant stakeholder will be required.

Change Programme of the Year

This award recognises a team or organisation that has achieved a common objective through effectively managing risks and opportunities to successfully implement change.  Some or all the benefits need to have been achieved during the last year.

Award criteria 

Judges will be looking for: 

  • How leadership has driven the programme across the organisation or division.
  • Evidence of the benefits created by the programme and how these have been successfully integrated into the organisation or division.
  • How proactively risks were overcome and opportunities maximised during the period of the programme and what were the outcomes.


Entries are open to all and can be submitted by individuals, teams and organisations. A supporting reference from a client, customer, manager or other relevant stakeholder will be required. 

John Bennett Award - Exceptional Young Person of the Year

John Bennett was Chairman of IIRSM from 1996 to 1999 and was instrumental in the growth of the Institute having joined the Board of Governors in 1990. He was Honorary Life President until his death in May 2015. Recognising young talent was particularly close to John’s heart and the recipient of this award will be an apprentice or young risk or safety professional.

Award criteria 

Open to under 35s (or those who have turned 35 since February 2019) from IIRSM membership and the wider risk, safety and business community. 

Applicants will be required to demonstrate dedication over and above what is expected of them and can show how they made a positive impact on an organisation or team to improve its culture and operational performance through risk or safety management.

Judges will be looking for individuals who:

  • Demonstrate how they use their initiative to implement new solutions to meet organisational needs.
  • Use innovative approaches to their work.
  • Quantify the impact of their contributions to work.
  • Demonstrate exceptional teamwork and collaboration working beyond silos.
  • Demonstrate excellence in execution.


Entries can be submitted through self-nomination or an applicant can be nominated by a mentor, client, supplier, customer, colleague or manager. If submitting a self-nomination entry, it must include a supporting reference from either a mentor, client, customer, colleague or manager.

Mentor of the Year

This award recognises outstanding mentors who have actively participated in the IIRSM or similar mentoring programmes or are just individuals who have just proactively mentored someone else. The award acknowledges the time, dedication, contribution made to the advancement of his or her mentee and creating a successful mentor/ mentee relationship.

We do not usually consider line managers to be mentors to their teams, as part of this award. This is because a key part of the mentoring relationship is the ability to have an open and honest conversation, for example about workplace challenges or future career aspirations. Mentors are usually those who can offer an impartial viewpoint, so may work for the same company as the mentee but in a different team, or be connected to their mentee through a mentoring scheme offered by a membership body such as IIRSM’s.   

Award criteria 

Judges will be looking for:

  • How the mentor has supported the mentee in gaining new knowledge and skills. 
  • How the mentor has guided the mentee in deciding the action to achieve objectives or solutions to overcome challenges. 
  • How the mentor has been accessible to the mentee over a sustained period. 
  • Overall, how valuable the mentee found the relationship with the mentor and what they have been able to achieve as a result. 


To nominate your mentor, or a colleague or professional peer who you know has done an excellent job of mentoring someone else, please provide details using the criteria above. You do not need to provide a reference if you have direct experience of being mentored by the person you are nominating. 

You can also nominate yourself for the Award. In addition to explaning how you meet the criteria above, you will also need to provide a reference from your mentee as part of the application process. 

Technology Risk Management Initiative of the Year

Technology is a driving force and enabler to successfully manage risk. 

Award criteria 

Judges will be looking for:

  • The driver for the initiative/project and how it aligns with an organisation’s strategic objectives.
  • Evidence of information and data produced and used to inform decision-making.
  • How the outcome of the initiative positively impacted the organisation and its people.  Evidence provided may include for example, financial metrics, stakeholder engagement levels, reduced or eliminated risks or exploited opportunities, as well as less tangible outcomes such as the impact on the credibility and integrity of the risk and/or safety function within the organisation.
  • What was innovative about the solution and how you used it?


We are looking for submissions from suppliers that have clearly understood their end users and their needs to build solutions that have delivered true business value and achieved users’ strategic objectives using technology solutions.


From organisations showcasing how they worked in partnership with their technology supplier to meet their strategic objectives and added value to their organisation through using technology.

Risk Team of the Year

This award recognises risk or safety teams that have demonstrated excellence to meet organisational needs.

Award criteria 

Judges will be looking for:

  • Teams that can evidence innovative approaches to addressing a key organisational issue or multiple projects, and how the approach met the needs of the organisation.
  • Exceptional teamwork and leadership in executing and delivering performance.
  • Collaboration and engagement across the organisation to achieve common objectives and organisational needs.
  • How the team and their work positively impacted the organisation. Evidence can include financial metrics, stakeholder engagement levels, reduced or eliminated threats or exploited opportunities, as well as less tangible outcomes such as the impact on the credibility and integrity of the risk and/or safety function within the organisation.


Entries are open to all and can be submitted by teams and organisations nominating a team. A supporting reference from a client, customer, manager, or other relevant stakeholder will be required.

IIRSM President’s Commendation

IIRSM’s President’s commendation recognises a member or leading industry professional who has made a major contribution to the advancement of risk management or provided exceptional support to IIRSM and/or its membership, the profession or wider society.

Nominations can be submitted to IIRSM setting out in no more than one page of A4, why somebody should be awarded the IIRSM President’s commendation.


A shortlist of nominations will be presented to the IIRSM Council with their supporting statements. The Council will choose a winner who will be invited to attend the IIRSM Awards Dinner to collect the award.


The awards application deadline is 19 February 2021. Finalists will be announced on 29 March 2021 and winners announced at the Risk Excellence Awards Dinner in London on 20 May 2021. 

The awards are open to all and are free to enter.  As part of the application you will need to include a statement explaining how you or the individual, team or organisation you are nominating has met the criteria for the Award. Your statement should be no more than 1500 words, but you can provide up to 5 pieces of supporting evidence (videos, photographs, images, graphs, presentations etc.) as Appendices. A maximum of one side of A4 (minimum font size 10) is allowed for any supporting reference. Nominations will be shortlisted by our independent Judging Panel and winners will be announced at the IIRSM Risk Excellence Awards Dinner.

If you are successfully shortlisted, you will be required to provide us with your company logo to be used on our website and in relevant pre and post marketing activities.

How to submit your entry

Stage 1 – Submit your application of entry

Submit your entry application form (dowload below) by email to Suzan Fikru at no later than 4pm on 19 February 2021. An email confirmation will be sent to confirm receipt of your entry within 1 working day. If you do not receive an email confirmation, please contact Suzan.

Stage 2 – Judging timetable and process

The judging process will be held during Feb/March 2021. 

Stage 3 – Shortlist of finalists announced

The shortlist of finalists will be announced on the IIRSM Risk Excellence Awards website page on 29 March 2021 and all those who are shortlisted will also receive an email confirmation.

Stage 4 - Winners announced

Winners will be announced on 20 May 2021 at the Risk Excellence Awards Dinner in London.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who can enter these awards?

A. Anyone – if the activity, company, team or individual involved in the submission meets the awards criteria.  

Q. Why should I enter these awards?

A. Whether you’re an SME or a large multinational, winning an IIRSM award doesn’t just give you something to boast about – it will be a weapon in your armoury and, most importantly, justify your role and influence in your organisation.

Q. What is the period of eligibility for the Awards?

A. For 2021 entries, at least part of the submission or its impact must have taken place between May 2020 and Feb 2021.  

Q. What is the word count?

A. 1500, which excludes tables and diagrams.  

Q. Can I add attachments?

A. Yes, you can add up to 5 pieces of supporting documentation.  

Q. I've designed a creative version of my submission; can I add this as an attachment? 

A. Yes, but please get in touch with us first.  

Q. What is the deadline for submitting my entry?

A. 4pm, 19 February 2021.

Q. How can I be sure about the integrity of these awards? 

A. The judging process for the awards is entirely independent with judges from a wide range of backgrounds and risk disciplines.  An adjudication panel meets in a second round of judging for any very close submissions in round one.  

Q. How do I enter these awards? 

A. Firstly, register your interest by completing the ‘register your interest’ form and email it to Holly Mulvihill-Clark. When you are ready to submit your final entry, download and complete the formal application form and attach any supporting documentation. This should also be emailed to Holly Mulvihill by WTF if including large files. Please refer to the awards criteria to ensure your submission reflects what the judges will be looking for. Entries open on 8 October 2020 and your entries must be received by us by 4pm 19 February 2021.  Late entries will not be accepted.

Q.  How hard is it to prepare an entry? 

A. Entering our awards is a simple and straight-forward process. But if you have any questions, please just get in touch with us.

Q. What should my entries include? 

A. All entries must follow the necessary category-specific entry criteria, and you should include any supporting documents. Please ensure all your entries are clearly attributed to the correct category, complete with contact details and attach your company logo as this will be required if you are successfully shortlisted.  

Q. What are your policies on confidentiality? 

A. IIRSM will publish a selection of winning entries as case studies to showcase the best of submissions. Any information that is commercially sensitive will be treated confidentially by judges, who all sign an NDA prior to becoming a judge. Any commercially sensitive information will be removed prior to publication. However, please keep in mind where appropriate, details of ROI and budget should be provided, as the more information you supply, the better the judges will be able to assess your entry.

Q. How much does it cost to enter? 

A. It is free to enter.  

Q. Can I enter the same project into more than one category? 

A. Yes, but please make sure you submit a separate application for each category. You must also tailor your submission for each category. 

Q. When will the shortlist by announced? 

A. The shortlist will be announced 26 March 2021. 

Q. When and where are the IIRSM Awards taking place this year? 

A. The IIRSM Risk Excellence Awards 2021 will take place on 20 May 2021 in London, at Church House, Westminster.


The Dinner

The winners of each Award will be announced at our Risk Excellence Awards & Networking Dinner in London on 20 May 2021. More details coming soon.  

2021 Sponsorship opportunities

Why support our awards?

Supporting the IIRSM Awards offers an invaluable opportunity to position your organisation and brand at the forefront of risk excellence. 

  • Access decision-makers, thought leaders and influencers.
  • Alignment with an independent risk charity demonstrating your commitment to risk excellence.  
  • High-profile and high value brand exposure with your logo appearing on all pre and post event marketing material, as well as significant presence on the evening.
  • Attendance at an event not to be missed.
  • Opportunity to showcase your expertise to our membership and wider networks.
  • And more….

“We’re proud to support the IIRSM Awards, which provides a brilliant opportunity to bring together and celebrate the ingenuity and hard work of the industry. Despite a challenging year, 2020’s online awards proved  exceptional, showing again how IIRSM provide real value to their membership.” Andy Hawkes, CEO, Cardinus Risk Management, 2020 headline sponsor

Download our 2021 awards sponsorship brochure from the bottom of this page. Alternatively, get in touch with Sophie Williams, Director of Professional Development on

The Judges

Find out more about our confirmed judges below... 


Su Corrin - Health & Safety Manager, Marylebone Cricket Club

Su has over 30 years' experience as a health and safety professional. She has worked in a very diverse range of environments including medical research, pharmaceuticals, education, TV and entertainment. 

She currently works as the Health & Safety Manager for Marylebone Cricket Club - Lords Cricket Ground. This includes leading health and safety on large construction projects, estates and maintenance, venue and event safety, fire safety and health and wellbeing. Su has previously worked for the Football Association, based at Wembley Stadium. 

Su has Fellowships of the IIRSM and the Royal Society for Public Health. She is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health, a Certified Member of the  Institute of Workplace Facilities Management, Member of the Institute of Leadership and Management, Associate Member of the Association of Project Safety, Associate Member of the British Occupational Hygiene Society and Member of the Association of Stage Pyrotechnicians. She has also worked as an Occupational Health Advisor and has a degree in Occupational Hygiene.

Su has a particular interest in health and well-being and has spent a long time working to raise the profile of workplace health. She has also won a number of awards and has a passion for learning new skills, developing others whilst working collaboratively to support great results. 

Abdullatif Albitawi - Consultant and Trainer

Abdullatif Albitawi graduated from Jordan University of Science & Technology, with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and holds a MSc in Energy Studies from the University of Sheffield.

He started his career in the pharmaceuticals industry and then moved to the chemical industry as a senior process engineer, then to the manufacturing industry as an operations manager. He played key roles in commissioning and starting up process plants and manufacturing facilities for companies that he worked for. He has made contributions to process improvement & control, loss prevention and environmental protection, quality management, process safety and occupational health and safety management.  

He is a Specialist Fellow of the International Institute of risk and Safety Management and serves as the Treasurer of the UAE branch and is also a member of the Energy Institute, serving as the Hon. Treasurer of the Middle East branch.

Abdullatif currently works as a consultant and trainer in areas of risk management, process safety, OH&S, energy and environmental management.

Dee Arp - Director of Learning and Assessment, NEBOSH

Dee Arp is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner of IOSH and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors. Dee moved into occupational health and safety 20 years ago whilst working at The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). At that time Dee was a Technical Manager for Road Safety, which led to her involvement in the development of occupational road risk training. After becoming a qualified health and safety practitioner; she taught on a wide range of courses and also worked with several boards and committees to implement safety governance.

Prior to joining NEBOSH; Dee held the roles of Course Developer and Head of Occupational Safety for RoSPA. 

Dee is now NEBOSH Director of Learning and Assessment and has responsibility for providing leadership on all matters relating to qualification development and assessment of NEBOSH qualifications and on matters of compliance, including the accreditation of NEBOSH Learning Partners. She oversees the implementation of agreed strategies and governance arrangements which protect the integrity of assessments leading to NEBOSH qualifications. Her previous experiences gained as a learner, provider and examiner are of great benefit to Dee in her role. 

Dee previously studied with Cambridge University for the Certificate of Continuing Education (Principles and Practice of Assessment) and is now undertaking further study with Cambridge University for a Masters in Education.

Steve Fowler - Managing Director, Amarreurs Consulting Ltd

Steve leads Amarreurs Consulting Ltd, a specialist firm providing international business strategy, risk and resilience, occupational health and safety, and change management and consultancy services. 

Steve is a prolific writer on risk management and business strategy, risk in major projects, international development and on competency standards for the risk management profession. He previously served 12 years as Chief Executive Officer at the Institute of Risk Management (IRM). He is also a part-time university lecturer in risk management and a member of British Standards Institution's committee for risk management. In addition, he serves on several risk management committees for major organisations. 

Chris Marsh - Principal Consultant. HSSEQ Risk Management at IRC Risk and Safety BV

Originally trained as a Marine Engineer, for the past 30 years Chris has worked across the Oil and Gas sector globally: 19 years of which have been as a risk professional providing leaderhip and advice in key areas of HSSEQ at Corporate (strategic) and Operational (tactical) level. 

He has an MSc in Health and Safety Risk Management and is a Fellow of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (FIIRSM) and is an active member of the IIRSM Education and Training Committee. He has an interest in culture and behaviour also how technology can be best leveraged to improve our ability to manage today's risks. 

Whilst not an academic, Chris is the author/ co-author or a number of academic papers covering some very topical subjects, for example leadership, culture, behaviour, organisational incident investigation and learning and process hazard analysis and ageing assets. 

Hugh Maxwell - Principle HSE Consultant, Chubb Global Risk Advisors

Hugh Maxwell is Principle HSE Consultant for Chubb Limited – the world’s largest publicly traded P&C insurance company and the largest commercial insurer in the USA. Over 20 years international Risk and HSE leadership and an IIRSM Fellow since 2007, he continues to believe in supporting our members and making our Institution the international enabler for Risk and HSE professionals – no matter their career stage, role, disciplines or location.

Maxwell’s background is high-risk manufacturing and customer locations. As former HSE Director of Vesuvius PLC (a world leader in steel industry consumables) and Global Environmental Leader of ESAB (the world’s leaders in welding and cutting technologies), he has driven extensive risk reduction initiatives globally. A key part of this has been through developing people, reducing risks and saving lives. His primary risk reduction strategy -- Safety Breakthrough, a management change programme, resulted in him receiving the 2018 IIRSM Excellence Award for Best International Risk Initiative.

With a passion for people engagement and development, he continues to develop others wherever possible. He was part of the IIRSM Mentoring pilot since and continues to support our members where possible. He is also an IIRSM ambassador and part of the Fellowship recommendation assessment panel. He was also rewarded for his Mentoring efforts in 2019 as the IIRSM Mentor of the Year. During a personal visit this year, he had the honour of supporting the launch of the IIRSM Regional Network in Mumbai on January 25th.  He believes in the importance of planning for the future through people, making best use of new technologies and reducing risks wherever we can and continues to work closely with our IIRSM senior management team whenever possible.

Glenn Ridsdale - Managing Director, Gauged Solutions

Glenn Ridsdale is the Managing Director of Gauged Solutions, and as a member of IIRSM he currently chairs the North East and Cumbria branch, having helped to establish it in March 2018. A career that started in aeronautical electrical engineering with UK based military flighter aircraft, Glenn has subsequently spent the last 20 years working in high hazard industries including power, oil, gas, petrochemical, waste and recycling, construction and Sub Sea, having held senior risk management positions in most. 

As comfortable on the shop floor as he is in the Board Room, Glenn is a Chartered safety professional passionate about both. Coaching executives or working with operational staff, Glenn specialises in both the human and technical aspect to managing risk. 

With an MSc in Behavioural Change, specifically related to occupational health and safety, Glenn has worked across the globe introducing cultural and behavioural based safety change programmes to a diverse range of organisations. One such behavioural change programme delivered by Gauged Solutions to Suez Recycling and Recovery UK Ltd,  won the inaugural IIRSM Barry Holt Award for Outstanding Risk Management Practice at the 2018 Risk Excellence Awards Dinner.

Grant Thompson - Health, Safety and Environmental Manager, Fox's Biscuits

Grant Thompson, one of the younger members of the judging panel, works as Health, Safety and Environmental Manager for the UK's beloved Fox's Biscuits. Grant studied Environmental Science (BSc) and Environmental Management (MSc) at the University of Nottingham and started his career as an Environmental Engineer for DNV GL, an internationally accredited registrar and classification society, where he was supported through his NEBOSH General Certificate and introduced to the world of risk management. From there, Grant went onto work as the EMEA Health, Safety and Environmental Specialist for ISN, a US-based contractor management company, and then onto work as the Health and Safety Manager for GA Pet Food Partners, Europe's leading manufacturer of dry pet foods. 

Grant has been involved heavily with IIRSM through his participation in the mentoring scheme and more recently the Emerging Risk Leaders' Network, an independent network established to help emerging risk leaders build their contacts and develop their knowledge, skills and competences. In January 2019, Grant was selected as one of the Health and Safety at Work's 40 under 40 winners and was recognised for his divergent thinking and contribution to safety in his recent roles. Grant is an advocate of positive reinforcement inside and outside of the workplace and is delighted to be on the judging panel to recognise, celebrate and share achievements and best practices in our industry. 

Mark White - Health and Safety Trainer, GEN2

Mark is an experienced health, safety and environmental professional. Since leaving the military in 2003, Mark has embarked on a varied risk and safety career in consultancy, the Ministry of Defence, Civil Service and, more recently, higher education, starting with the University of Portsmouth in 2009.

Wanting a lifestyle change, seven years ago Mark relocated to Cumbria and took on the role of Health and Safety Experimental Officer for The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute’s Cumbrian Facility. This role involved managing radiation protection and all aspects of safety related requirements in the facility. 

In 2019 Mark joined GEN2, part of the City & Guilds group, as Health and Safety Trainer delivering corporate health, safety and wellbeing training to apprentices starting out in their careers.  GEN2’s ethos focusses on providing high quality employer and learner responsive training and educational programmes.

He has been an active member of IIRSM for 15 years and recently won the inaugural IIRSM North East & Cumbria Award for social responsibilities and community safety engagement, in recognition of his voluntary work in first aid training within his local community and working with the youth sector.