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Update post UnAwards18 .jpg

Well the 5th annual UnAwards has only gone and broken records….

by Darren Caveney

The 5th annual UnAwards promises to be the best yet. Over 400 entries swamped the UnAwards inbox and I am so grateful to everyone who has taken the time to make this happen.

Here are four big things to update you on…


The entries have all been dispatched to a team of 20 external judges have been busy trying to select their shortlists. It’s an epic task but they are more than up to it.


Once the judges have done their thing the shortlist will be published on 19 November.


The venue is a belter with a strict capacity of 141 seats for an event which always sells out. Well done if you have already grabbed a ticket. The tickets are first come, first served so the only way to guarantee your ticket is to grab one now whilst you can HERE.

I will potentially then hold back a final allocation for any remaining shortlisted people. It’s a challenge to try to get everyone there but I shall do my very best to get shortlisted teams and individuals at least one ticket.


The UnAwards are different to other awards and so you, the communications community, get the chance to vote for the winners in three categories – lifetime achievement, best comms team and best guest post of the year. There are some amazing people and teams to consider.

The public vote opens on 7 November and closes on 26 November and you can vote here from 7 November.


Many thanks to the team of #UnAwards18 judges - Dave Worsell, Matt Johnson, Emma Rodgers, Ross Wigham, Phil Morcom, Bridget Aherne, Carolyne Mitchell, David Grindley, Caroline Roodhouse, Ian Curwen, Fran Collingham, Stuart Banbery, Rachael Richardson-Bullock, Matt Nicholls, Victoria Ford, John-Paul Danon, Phil Jewitt, Holly Bremner and Ben Capper.

And many, many thanks to the #UnAwards18 official partner, Granicus, and the official sponsors: The Local Government Association, Orlo (previously known as SocialSignIn), Council Advertising Network, NUJ PR Communications Council, Alive With Ideas and Perago Wales.

I’ve said it before but it’s so true, I couldn’t deliver the #UnAwards without your support.

More updates here and via @comms2point0 on Twitter very soon.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and organiser of the UnAwards

Image via Tullio Saba


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Listening to a comms professional explain their award-winning work is a gem of a learning opportunity.

by Darren Caveney

The UnAwards has been a passion of mine for over four years now. It's taken up a decent chunk of my time to make them happen each year. But when you enjoy something so much, and it's packed with learning and connecting opportunities, it doesn't ever really feel like work.

This year the UnAwards Winners Masterclass showcased the work of eight winners and to a packed room of public sector communications professionals from around the UK. Each spoke about the challenge, the creative idea, the delivery, the results and the hard outcomes. Each winner overcame some significant competition to claim an UnAward so their shared insight was valuable to everyone in the room.

Connie Osborne from Greater Manchester Police brought a tear to most eyes in the room with her account of what she and the team did following the horrific Arena attack.

And Alex Mills made us all laugh with the story behind the brilliant Operation Chip Pan campaign and video.

Each winning speaker was a credit to our profession - and such excellent speakers too, by the way.

Thank you to every speaker for taking a day out of their busy schedules to share with the comms2point0 community.

I personally learned a huge amount at the Masterclass and I am so grateful to the official partners who made the day possible and free to attend for everyone.

The Masterclass partners were the Local Government Association, Granicus, SocialSignIn, The Council Advertising Network and Alive with Ideas.

Each partner is keen to talk to you more about where they can support and enable you in delivering your comms challenges. I genuinely recommend each one of them to you and will happily connect you with them if you shout me - hey I'm GDPR-friendly.

You can email me at

THE #UNAWARDS18 will open in September - more info nearer the date both here and on the official social media channel @comms2point0

Darren Caveney is organiser of the UnAwards, creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd

image by Nigel Bishop

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It's the most wonderful time of the year UnAwards 2017.jpg

The UnAwards17 ceremony was a chance to recognise excellence, celebrate success, connect with new faces and say hello to old friends.

by Darren Caveney

The UnAwards have become something of a pre-Christmas tradition with communications professionals from all across the UK converging on the event’s spiritual home, the Everyman Cinema in Birmingham.

Demand for tickets is always high and not everyone managed to bag a ticket this year. But the demand just adds to the special vibe experienced at Friday’s fourth annual UnAwards. What was pleasing to me was that half of the attendees had been to an UnAwards ceremony before. 10 people had even been to all four.

Each year I give the UnAwards a new theme and this year’s was perfectly reflected by all of the winners – being brave, doing it differently and swimming against the tide. Choosing a film for 140 people is always a bit tricky – not everyone would appreciate my ‘potential’ choices of Goodfellas, Rocky 3 or Pulp Fiction. Jerry Maguire was this year’s choice and definitely supported this year’s theme – and many of the audience seated in screen 3 hadn’t seen it.

Winning. Always be winning.

18 winners walked away happy that their work had emerged top against a huge volume of high quality competition. Those shortlisted and highly commended should be mighty proud of their achievements too. We’re a competitive bunch in our industry so those people will undoubtedly have been a bit disappointed not to have won. But they really shouldn’t. And if motivation were needed for the UAwards18 it’s that a couple of people shortlisted last year picked up wins this year, including a home-town win for Birmingham City Council.

The best thing of all about the UnAwards is the chance to spend some quality time with peers and to meet and connect with new contacts. A day out of the office, away from the daily pressures, to do this is really valuable. Is this work, some might ask? Hell, yes. In fact it’s my favourite work day of the year.

Here are some more thoughts and reflections now that the magic dust has settled…

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue equalled Sheffield City Council’s feat from 2015 in picking up three wins. A fabulous achievement and against very stiff competition. You can see their rather brilliant campaign video here. Well done, team.

There was so little to separate the four shortlisted best comms pros, and that really is a title to be proud of. Well done to Ceri Lewis, Rebecca Beck and Albert Freeman and to the winner Melissa Thermidor.

Likewise the winners of best comms team, Enfield Council, who were nominated by someone else and encouraged to enter. A lesson there for sure.

The best low cost comms was the most popular category with 60 entries. A clear sign of the times. Impressive work couldn’t even make the final shortlist but that has to be good in terms of continuous improvement and the raising of bars.

Greater Manchester Police winning the best crisis/emergency comms category will have been celebrated my many. The very least the team there deserve.

It was good to see an increase in the number of entrants and winners from the NHS this year. I hope this continues next year.

And the important category of best ethical communications behaviour and diversity too saw a good increase versus last year’s numbers. Let’s push this even higher again next year.

Having two previous Lifetime Achievement UnAwards winners to hand over to this year’s winner Jill Walden was special. Winning a Lifetime Achievement UnAward guarantees an invite every year so I hope that Jill Walden can join us and do the same in 2018.

The Lifetime Achievement award saw two exceptional police communications leads who have each done so much for their sector over a significant period of time. I thought it was so appropriate that, given some of the terrible and tragic events of 2017, that it was two police communicators nominated this year. It’s almost unfair to call one a winner as both Jill and Amanda Coleman deserve our thanks and recognition.

Talking to colleagues from the emergency services at the event it’s clear that employers have a responsibility to safeguard the mental health of their staff which includes comms teams. Some do. Others from across all sectors? I’m not convinced. I’ve thought and said for a while that I don’t believe we do enough as an industry to provide sufficient support for wellbeing for comms people and teams and this is something which needs greater attention. Comms Unplugged – highly commended in the UnAwards – has wellbeing at its heart and that’s what made it special for those who attended. More on this in future posts.  

Saying thanks

Big thanks to Granicus for being the official UnAwards17 partner and to Alive With Ideas, Perago Wales, the Local Government Association, NUJ PRCC, SocialSignIn, Social Simulator and the Council Advertising Network for sponsoring. It’s a pleasure to work with you all. If anyone from the comms2point0 community would like me to introduce you to any of these fine folk please contact me.


Well done to the 70 on the shortlist and the highly commended entries.

And a big well done to the 18 winners.

You can see the full list of winners here.

Finally, finally, some metrics…

The dedicated website has received over 10k unique since this year’s UnAwards was launched.

And in the week of the #UnAwards17 187 contributors created a reach on 557k of Twitter.

I know, they are vanity metrics. But it’s ok to be a little bit vain occasionally?

Finally, finally, finally…

If you want to look for yourself in the official pics by Nigel Bishop here’s the link (thanks, Nigel) and here is a short film too.

So the UnAwards17 ends. One of my next tasks is to organise the Masterclass next year to showcase and learn from the winners. Shout if you’re interested in sponsoring this.

And talking of next year I’m already off and running with plenty of new ideas. And there is already a date…

SAVE THE DATE – The UnAwards18 will take place on Friday 7 December.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and organiser of the UnAwards

pic by me

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414 entries UnAwards17.jpg


The 4th annual UnAwards has seen an amazing response from the industry. And in the process created an enormous treasure trove of learning.

by Darren Caveney

There are many things I love about running my own business: The consultancy, the training, speaking at events and mentoring comms people. The vat bills I love a bit less.

But most of all I really love to fly a flag for the communications community – to shout about the great and important work you all do, from Dundee to Dorset, from Swansea to Suffolk.

The UnAwards gives me an amazing platform to do this in spades. I like to think it’s my opportunity to put a little bit back into an industry which has been very kind to me.

Now it’s fair to say that the UnAwards soaks up a lot of hours of work behind the scenes – ask Mrs C, who hasn’t seen much of me these past few weeks.

But I love it and I’m passionate about making sure that we recognise the efforts, skills and dedication of comms brothers and sisters across the sectors.

The #UnAwards17 closed at midnight on 31 October. And then…

when I closed my laptop at 1.30am I was a little bit gob-smacked to sit back and reflect on the massive 414 entries which had been submitted. 414. Gulp.

That makes it a record-breaker.

I thank very much everyone who entered.

You do these things and, in quieter moments, wonder if anyone will enter this year or turn up at the venue on the big day. Over 3k people had visited the dedicated UnAwards website in the weeks running up to the deadline so I was optimistic but I never ever assume anything in life.

I can stop worrying now.

What happens next?

Well an army of external judges have quite a job on now to review, score and shortlist this mountain of comms excellence.

Once they have done this I’ll be posting the shortlist on the UnAwards website on 21 November.

What else?

Three of the categories – best comms team, best guest post of 2017 and the lifetime achievement UnAward - are decided by public vote. These will go live on the site on 7 November and you can choose your own favourites.

What does the big day look like?

Well in short it is my favourite work day of the year.

Held in the very cool Everyman Cinema in Birmingham’s iconic Mailbox on Friday 1 December it features the winners’ ceremony, the watching of a film (kept secret until the big day) and a meal in the retro diner.

I’m not going to go on about ticket sales except to say it is first come, first served, there is a capacity of 140 tickets and it sells out every year.

This short film from the UnAwards16 will give you an idea of what to expect.

Saying thanks…

I want to say thank you to the people who make the UnAwards possible. My aim with the UnAwards is the make them the most accessible communications industry awards in the UK. But I can only do this through the help, support, belief and financial backing of the official partner and official sponsors.

So a big virtual high five to official UnAwards17 partner Granicus UK, and to the seven official sponsors: SocialSignIn, Council Advertising Network, Social Simulator, the Local Government Association, the NUJ PR and Communications Council, Alive With Ideas and Perago Wales.

They are a group of people who continually back our industry which, in the era of tightening resources, is vital to our ongoing learning and development.

On top of that they are all great people who I would recommend to you as suppliers in a heartbeat. So check them out, talk to them and see where they can help you improve, become more efficient and deliver your objectives.

414. I may get that printed onto a T-shirt.

Right, I’m off for a lie down.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and organiser of the #UnAwards17

image via Tullio Saba




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We know that a common complaint from comms professionals is a lack of recognition for their work. The UnAwards17 is your chance to change that.

by Darren Caveney

Whether it’s a brilliant campaign, managing communications through a crisis, or just turning up every day of the year and being the best you can be, it’s not a lot to ask to get the odd ‘well done’ or ‘thank you’.

But it doesn’t happen often enough for many and that is one of the reasons behind the comms2point UnAwards17 - to shine a light on the professionals proudly flying comms, pr and digital flags across the sectors.

Now there’s only one thing better than being shortlisted for an award - that’s being nominated by someone else for an award. It’s a special thing.  It means you’ve caught someone’s eye, demanded their attention or impressed them with your creativity, doggedness, enthusiasm and skills.

Know someone like that? Then why not nominate them in the UnAwards17?

There are two ways in which you can nominate.

Option one - If you think an individual or a team should be in the running this year just complete this short online form and hit submit. We’ll do the rest and contact them on your behalf.

Secondly, you can nominate an individual or a team in any of this year's categories and complete the entry form for them. Two which really lend themselves to nominations are:

-          Best comms/digital team

-          Lifetime achievement award

For this second option, all you need to do is complete the simple entry form here and email it through to

When we set up the UnAwards we were absolutely clear that they would be the most accessible industry awards around.  Where the community were actively involved in shaping and deciding.

So, best of all you, the comms community, gets to choose the winners through a public vote in these two categories, as well as our 'Post of the year' category.

We’ll tell you more about the public vote soon.


The closing date is 31 October (midnight) so get nominating.


Want to soak up the atmosphere of the coolest comms, PR, marketing and digital event of the year in person? UnAwards tickets are priced at just £20 + vat each. See, we told you the UnAwards were really accessible.

Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis and will sell out so don’t hang around.  

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point and organiser of the UnAwards17

image by Steve Snodgrass


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The end of any year is a time for some quiet reflection - what went well, what didn’t. Reflection is a good thing. But so is a great big celebration. And the #UnAwards16 is a day to celebrate all that’s brilliant about our industry and your hard work and achievements this year.

by Darren Caveney

Well after a three-month build up the #UnAwards16 is finally here.

If you have managed to bag a ticket, well done. They really have been in huge demand. Should we get a larger venue next time? Maybe, but then if we’re not careful the UnAwards would become the very thing it set out not to be. As my Dad used to say - they don’t make diamonds the size of house bricks.

Win, lose or draw you’re in for a great day

The UnAwards is my favourite work event of the year. It’s quite unlike any other industry event I’ve been to.

Of course if you’re shortlisted but don’t win you’ll be disappointed.

But the day is designed so that win, lose or draw you can genuinely enjoy a fun event and a unique opportunity to network with industry colleagues new and old. That in itself is reason to be there.

Not winning…

I spent a small fortune earlier this year to attend a London hotel awards event. You know the kind of thing - black tie and £300 a ticket. In truth we were never going to win the award and I left feeling a bit miffed. Not because we didn’t win – I’m a Birmingham City fan so I’m no stranger to defeats. I was miffed because I felt like I was a bit like room fodder, and for the amount of cash I shelled out I could have taken the family away for a long weekend.

I don’t want anyone to feel like that when they leave the UnAwards so a lot of thought and love has gone into the event.

Twitter and Snapchat use at the event

If you can’t be at the UnAwards16 follow it on Twitter using the #UnAwards16 hashtag.

We have a Snapchat filter for the event too so if that’s your platform it would be great to see your pics there.

Announcing the winners and snaps of the big day…

We’ll be posting the winners names to the UnAwards16 website directly after the event.

We also have the fab Nigel Bishop taking snaps and filming the event and we’ll get these online as soon as possible.

Timings, film and food

The venue for the UnAwards16 is the rather lovely Everyman Cinema in Birmingham's Mailbox.

If you’re coming along aim to be at the venue between 9.30am and 10am for registration, a cup of coffee and a croissant. We’ll ask you to take your seats at 10.20am.

After the ceremony we’re watching a cool film (for those of you badgering me for the title or a clue, my lips are remaining zipped)

After the film you’ll tuck into hearty bowl of veggie chilli and be done by 3pm.

And the dress code is…

Whatever you fancy. Literally. This is NOT black tie, as you’ll have guessed J But if you want to come in your fancy clobber then go for it.

Saying thanks

Thanks so much for your support – 332 entries and 4.6k public votes is a brilliant response from you.

And I’ll be thanking our UnAwards partner, GovDelivery, and our sponsors the Local Government Association, Alive With Ideas, the NUJPRCC and Social Simulator. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we couldn’t do this without you.


If for any reason you have a ticket but can no longer come along please let me know as we have a waiting list of eager folks bursting to be there.

I look forward to seeing lots of you on Thursday

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and organiser of the UnAwards16

image via Thomas Leuthard

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Here it is, the moment you've been waiting for. The UnAwards16 public vote is OPEN.

by Darren Caveney

In the 2015 UnAwards I was determined that I wanted the comms community to choose some of the winners.

You make these decisions and then sit back and hope things pan out well. Well, fortunately, it did go well - over 2.5k votes were cast. So I am delighted to launch the UnAwards16 public vote today to give you the chance to choose your favourites from three important categories...

Team of the year

You have 17 teams to choose from in this prestigious category and each has done amazing things this year. The entrants highlight the real spread of organisations who have entered the #UnAwards16, including six local councils, three NHS organisations, two fire and rescue teams and one from each of central government, police, housing and travel.

This is tough, tough competition - you've a difficult task to select a winner.

Post of the year

Here you have this year's top 10 most read posts from guest contributors in the running. There are some belters in the line up so have a good read and choose your favourite carefully.

Lifetime achievement award

You have two outstanding professionals to choose from, both with a long and successful track record of delivery and leading teams. Another difficult choice but choose you must.

So make your vote count by choosing your personal winners HERE.

The public vote is open until 23 November (midnight) so you have plenty of time to ponder on your choices. Happy pondering.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0, owner of creative communicators ltd and organiser of the #UnAwards16

image via the Finnish Museum of Photography


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