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The annual MA Awards are our chance to meet members, and congratulate and recognise those who work really hard for their branches, supporting and inspiring others to do well.
We rely on your MIC submissions and your nominations to make decisions on who we think should win, so thank you for helping us make the awards happen!
The winners and commendations for 2018 are:
1. MIC Education Award: North and East Devon MA
North and East Devon MA won last year, making them two-time champions! This award is decided by looking at the amount of MIC activity undertaken by a branch in comparison to the amount of members they have. We are always impressed by North and East Devon who manage to reach an impressive amount of children/teenagers despite being one of the most diminutive branches in the country, in terms of membership numbers.
2. MIC Community Award: Essex MA
Essex also won last year! They are clear winners in this category as they focus on reaching a variety of community groups such as rotary groups, bowling groups and police cadets, to name a few. Branch Chair, Dawn Roche (pictured with National Chair, John Bache) received the award on behalf of her branch.
3. MIC Innovation Award: Nottinghamshire MA
This strong MIC team have been working with a local university, providing three court skills days a year for social work students, giving them the opportunity to take a case study and provide reports to a bench.
They have also organised Road Traffic Collision days at schools, in collaboration with the local fire service. These go through various scenarios which end in a court case for the drivers, and include the staging of a fatal crash. This brings home to students the dangers of speeding and other motoring offences and the consequences of such offending.
They have also given presentations to the Saudi traffic police and Russian human rights lawyers, so they reach a varied audience!
Their mock trials are supported by Rotary Club members, which helps them to remain self-sufficient.
4. MIC Presenter of the Year: Gwynneth Bellman, Greater Manchester MA
We had many nominations for this category, it was difficult to choose, but we chose Gwynneth for her ability to bring together large groups of people for a variety of MIC activities, always remaining patient and negotiating with different stakeholders for these events.
For a number of years Gwynneth organised the Senior Schools Mock Trials Competition in the Trafford area and beyond. She was also responsible for the introduction of the Primary Schools Mock Trials Competition in the Manchester area. Her MIC related efforts continue at the national level, where she has been instrumental in the development of new MIC materials.
Gwynneth’s manner means people are eager to help and are inspired by her passion to spread the word about MIC. She has been described (extremely aptly) as a ‘tour de force’.
Commendation: Judy Hulland, Worcestershire MA
Judy’s efforts must be recognised. She took over the leadership of the Worcester MIC sub-team in 2014 and has energetically ‘marketed’ the MIC services to schools and social groups. As a result, the exposure of the sub-team has grown significantly to nearly 3000 during 2017-2018.
Judy strives to ensure that the school presentations reflect the age group and the educational objectives sought. These include matters such as the life-long implications of a criminal record, decision-making and the seriousness of offences, the right to bail and the structure and role of the criminal justice system in society. Recent additions include the topical issues of cyber-bullying, sexting, domestic abuse and drink / drug-driving. Through the careful choice of imaginary case-studies and real-life cases, audiences are engaged and frequently left wanting more.
She is a dedicated presenter, whose personality means that presentations are delivered with humour, and wit which makes them engaging to watch.
She has reached out to a variety of organisations and seeks to adapt at all times. Thank you Judy!
5. Retired Member of the Year: Margaret Salisbury, Mid and South Glamorgan MA
Margaret has worked on MIC for nearly 20 years and has been the backbone and driving force of their team. She recruits, puts herself forward as first point of contact and also presents the bulk of MIC presentations. She has done this despite huge changes in the geographical reach of their area which has meant long commutes and when faced with budget cuts she deftly rallied the team so they could cope with the changes, utilising everyone’s talents.
6. Employer Award: Lloyds Banking Group, nominated by Christine Wong
As all magistrates in full or part-time employment will know, a supportive workplace is essential if one is to carry out their magisterial duties. Lloyds Banking Group currently employ over 34 magistrates and provide paid leave for public duties, in addition to annual leave. They also allow for agile working, enabling employees to keep pace with their roles.
In addition, Lloyds embraces several forms of agile working. One of these is the provision of reliable infrastructure which enables staff to work remotely, another is allowing staff to work nine day fortnights.
Similar support is also extended to staff serving as members of statutory tribunals, prison monitoring boards or those performing duties at remand centres or young offender’s institutions. Lloyds Banking Group is committed to a sustainable and responsible approach to doing business and we are delighted to present them with our Employer Award. Nominator and Lloyds employee, Christine Wong (pictured with John Bache) was on hand to collect the award on behalf of her employer.
7. Special Recognition Award: Stephanie Challinor, Suffolk (no branch)
Stephanie is somehow managing to carry out a successful MIC programme without the support of a functioning branch.
Suffolk currently has no MA branch. Despite this, Stephanie has worked tirelessly for many years to organise an annual School Mock Trial competition with great success. Over the years it has become harder to enrol schools across the county, and this year, the event’s reputation was such that participating schools went to great lengths to attend in spite of heavy snow across the county.
She has also managed to maintain the support of the Lord Lieutenant and her office. This has all been achieved without funding or any other form of centralised support. Stephanie is an extremely charming one woman tornado of determination, energy and inspiration.
We hope to have a Suffolk branch up and running soon. We look forward to seeing what she can do with branch backing!
Commendation: Caroline Jephcott, Worcestershire MA
This was an extremely difficult decision to make as Caroline’s nomination was very strong. Having spearheaded the development and implementation of MIC in Worcestershire for nearly 20 years, Caroline will soon retiring from her role as MIC Coordinator.
It is impossible to enumerate the sheer breadth and variety of the MIC activity that Caroline has brought to fruition. To name but a few: she raised the profile of the Mock Trial competition in Worcestershire to a highly professional level; introduced innovative artists and reporter competitions; and was instrumental in a Branch event with a local theatre specialising in domestic abuse awareness.
Members considering taking on her role are overawed by the magnitude of the task and it has been decided that a small committee is the only possible option to replace the numerous tasks that Caroline took on board singlehanded. Thank you, Caroline!
8. Branch of the Year: Buckinghamshire MA
This year Buckinghamshire magistrates have delivered MIC presentations to over 4000 young people and nearly 500 adults. They also participate in the Action4Youth group delivery of the National Citizenship Scheme, and regularly participate in the training sessions of G4S youth detention centre officers.
This year they expanded the work that they do to inform the community about the work magistrates do in the Family Court. They formed and trained a specialist team of Family Justices to deliver these presentations, formulated a standard base presentation to be used for this, and had great success with their first Family Court Mock Hearings competition in January 2018.
They believe in the value of collaboration among MA branches and take every opportunity to work and share resources with the branches around them. They run informative training events, and use sentencing exercises to keep their members training refreshed. They have worked with HMCTS on producing case studies and materials for these events and are working alongside Berkshire and Oxfordshire, HMCTS and regional JTAAAC to produce a cross country event next year.
Well done Buckinghamshire! Incoming Branch Chair, Debbie Gibbs (pictured with John Bache) collected the award on behalf of her branch.
Commendation: South and South-East London MA
Also extremely strong on member training is South and South East London, who have run five events this year covering a variety of subjects, working alongside JTAAAC to give recognised personal development training on their records.
They have run sessions on gangs, the dark net (including cybercrime), and alcohol testing in police stations. Due to popular demand, the latter ran three times. They also play a key role in organising pan-London Branch conferences, on drugs in October 2017 and on coercive and controlling behaviour this autumn.
They work collaboratively with other branches and have passed on relevant information to North East and East London Branch regarding their training on the Dark Net and cybercrime, and this is forming part of the latter branch’s AGM in October.
Thanks to the hard work of a number of members, their MIC offering is thriving. In 2018 alone, they have reached over 400 adults and young people (including law students) through visits to 10 schools, nine Further Education colleges, five adult community groups, and number of charities. A further 90 students in Years 8 and 9 from six schools took part in the Area Mock Trial Competition, organised by SSELMA.
The branch respond to feedback, and recruit interesting speakers, including a recovering drug addict and former gang member. We are happy to commend them.
Well done to all of those who won, and were commended. We are extremely lucky at the Magistrates Association to have so many members who are passionate about the work that they do.
It is always enjoyable reading through the nominations, to see the variety of people doing great things. It was genuinely a difficult task to choose winners, it as a pleasure to have such difficult choices and we look forward to next year.
If you have any queries about the awards, please contact the membership team here.
9. Branch Officer of the Year: Ian Finch, Essex MA
Ian was awarded this for his absolute dedication to Essex MA. His hard work as branch secretary and membership secretary have kept the branch functioning, as 18 months ago its closure was being seriously considered.
He continues to serve both the branch executive committee, and the membership in Essex, with ‘good grace, wise counsel and humour’.
Ian was unable to attend the awards dinner, but Dawn Roche, Chair of Essex MA, was delighted to accept the award on his behalf.
Outgoing Chair, Marie Brock says:
'We are honoured to receive this award, especially because we know how hard all the MA Branches work and we have heard there were some great initiatives this year.
'Our achievements in 2018 could not have happened without collaboration between Buckinghamshire and our neighbouring MA Branches. The spirit of collaboration underpins most of what we do - we love to share! Alongside this, we are continually looking for new ways to help people understand what we do in the magistracy - both for the public and for those within the system.
'Examples of what we have done in 2018 include:
'Expanding our MIC efforts to include our work in the Family Court. We formed and trained a specialist team of Family Justices to deliver Family Court presentations, produced a presentation that can be adapted for the audience, and have already delivered to CABs, trainee social workers, contact centres, and trainee lawyers. We also had great success with our first Family Court Mock Hearings competition in January 2018.
'Our MIC team have interacted with over 4500 people. Not bad for a branch that comprises around 130 sitting magistrates. As the size of the Bench shrinks, so does the branch - but the deliveries from our MIC initiative continue to grow year on year. I am sure some businesses would like to know the secret to that!
'At our last AGM, at the request of our members, we resurrected sentencing exercises, previously run by HMCTS but stopped a few years ago because of lack of resource. We produced the case studies, got them validated, and had HMCTS and our Liaison Judge involved in running the workshop.
'The materials for the Family Court and case studies are available on our MA Branch page - please feel free to use or adapt to suit your needs.' Marie Brock JP, Buckinghamshire MA Chair
Marie Brock JP steps down as Chair this year, upon her retirement. Buckinghamshire MA would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her fantastic leadership. The Branch has garnered a track record of innovative initiatives, excellent recruitment and retention rates, and high member satisfaction under her able stewardship. The Branch of the Year award is a fitting testament to her efforts!
Her nominator, Fiona Tompkins says:
'As MIC Bench Coordinator for the Cardiff Bench I initially nominated Margaret Salisbury as MIC Presenter of the Year to reflect a commitment of nearly 20 years to MIC. I was delighted to hear that she had instead won the overarching Retired Member of the Year award.
Over two decades, Margaret has been the backbone of our team personally delivering around 50 of our 70 to 100 annual presentations. As former bench coordinator and current branch coordinator, she has been the driving force behind our little team, actively recruiting presenters, being the first point of contact for community groups and always being willing to hop in at short notice where other presenters have had to cancel.
'Since closure of both Barry and Bridgend courts, the geographical area for the Cardiff MIC Team has become vast and often involves journeys of well over 20 miles each way - taking 40 minutes to an hour. Margaret has always been happy to be ready for action at a primary school for 9am no matter how far the commute.
'Margaret originally joined MIC helping out with the mock trial competitions back in 1998. Due to the ill health of the then coordinator, Margaret was asked to expand things and was given access to some administrative support. It was, therefore, in the early 2000s that our school’s presentations picked up steam with Margaret at the helm and a small team of around six presenters. Initially, they were presenting to only a handful of both primary and secondary schools but by the time Margaret had recruited me into the team in around 2008 we were in a school most weeks of the academic year.
'In 2010 our administrative support was removed due to budget cuts. This didn’t deter Margaret. She simply rallied the team and organised those of us with good computer skills to take over all the administrative work and run a paperless project.
'Margaret has always been prepared to listen to the team and has not been afraid of change. Following two bench mergers, we had to expand both our MIC delivery area and the team which currently stands at 11. We also needed to standardise our presentations to facilitate easier training for new team members. Margaret has encouraged a process of collective collaboration which resulted in a slick PowerPoint and entertaining mock trial scripts which we are constantly tweaking as a team. We still use three mock trial scripts that were developed by Margaret some years ago, rotating them annually. Margaret puts a lot of time and effort into ensuring these are kept up to date and relevant.
'Margaret retired from the bench a couple of years ago but stayed on as Branch Coordinator. She is still a very active member of our presenting team, continues to provide support to me as the new Bench Coordinator with her wealth of MIC knowledge and continued enthusiasm for the schools’ project.
I am delighted that my nomination met with success and the judges recognised Margaret’s fantastic contributions and decades of tireless work, and decided to award her Retired Member of the Year. Please join me in congratulating a hugely deserving winner!' Fiona Tompkins JP
Lisa Whitehead, MA Events, Membership and MIC Manager, gives her perspective
'The run-up to the weekend began with a series of increasingly comical mishaps with the courier company that was to have picked up all the event materials from our Vauxhall offices and transported them to the event venue. On Thursday, my colleague, Jude, and I dashed to Euston to make the five o’clock train to Manchester – although, as we were loaded with assorted last minute bits of material that had not made the delivery, ‘dash’ may be a bit of an overstatement. More of a gentle lollop.
'When we arrived at the Holiday Inn, I was glad to see that our pre-ordered wine had arrived – as a dry awards dinner was not to countenanced! We then attempted the dry run of the route Jude was taking for the Partner Programme on Saturday, but were thwarted by more ‘challenges’. This year’s programme was beset with difficulties as the fluctuating number of attendees, forecasts of torrential weather, vanishing bus stops, and venues that suddenly decided to undergo refurbishment put blocks in place made us wonder of we were pawns in some manner of cosmic joke. I thank Jude hugely for her perseverance, which paid off in a delightful day for the partners of our attendees. Please read her account of this above.
'On Friday morning, I welcomed the rest of my colleagues and attendees of Council, settled everyone in and then proceeded to dash around Manchester buying up peach juices and raspberries for the pre-reception cocktails that evening and making sure things were in place for the Conference the next day.
The awards dinner was a fabulous success - an opportunity for us to celebrate the efforts of our members and for members to mingle in a convivial atmosphere (possibly aided by the aforementioned wine) was bound to be!
'On Saturday, we were up with the larks and hotfooted it over to etc.venues to set things up. We had barely any time to unpack before delegates started arriving, then were struck with the news that one of our speakers, James Munby, was unable to attend. I was forced to rejig the day to adapt, which isn’t as simple as it sounds, as it involved changing speaker times and duration, communicating that to them and finding somewhere to print up 120 new agendas!
'Despite all this, the day went really well, the venue was amazing, our speakers were knowledgeable and delegates had time to ask questions. We’ve been inundated with positive feedback, for which I am so grateful!'