Skip nav

Top employers awarded at HR Awards

PRESS INFORMATION - press enquiries to Sam Dabbs - 07711 672893

L-R Comedian Helen Lederer (who hosted the evening), David Fairhurst - Senior VP, chief people officer, McDonald's and Andrew Leaitherland - managing partner of DWF Solicitors

6 June 2007

Eight top employers from throughout the UK (including McDonald's have been honoured for their achievements at the prestigious DWF Employer Awards.

The winners were announced from a shortlist of more than twenty businesses at a ceremony at the Hilton Hotel, Manchester.

Designed to showcase excellence in human resources practice, the awards aim not only to reward outstanding achievement, but also to stimulate higher aspirations across the industry.

The nine award categories reflect the different areas of HR and range from recruitment and risk management to leadership, training and technology. The awards were open to all employers in the UK and were judged by a panel consisting of representatives from DWF and each of the sponsors, together with an independent chairman.

DWF managing partner Andrew Leaitherland says: “The DWF Employer Awards are now firmly established as one of the highlights of the year for HR practitioners. This year’s entries have once again been of a very high standard and include some excellent examples of innovation and best practice.

“With the biggest employment law team in the North, DWF is at the forefront of legal practice in HR nationally, and is keen to recognise those employers whose work and ideas lead the field for the benefit of the whole industry.”

The winners are:

Distinction in Employee Training - sponsored by DWF
BAE Systems (Preston)
“BAE Systems is the number one European defence company. Its innovative and yet intensive training programme for the F-35 Lightning II inspired its entry to the awards, and involved international training across multiple sites and time zones,” commented Leaitherland.

Excellence in Risk Management - sponsored by Bridge Insurance Brokers
Daniel Contractors Ltd (Warrington)
“Daniel Contractors is a family owned business and a key contractor within the UK's pipeline, civil engineering and utility construction sectors. This company seeks continuous improvement of business practices and is truly dedicated to the interests of its employees,” said Leaitherland.

Excellence in Managing the People Aspect of Change - sponsored by DBM
Co-operative Financial Services (Manchester)
“By bringing together its insurance and banking arms, CFS, employing around 10,000 people, needed a fresh approach. Its modernisation and re-deployment programme was hugely successful, resulting in just seven out of 550 people opting for redundancy,” said Leaitherland.

Best Employee Benefits Communications - sponsored by Jardine Lloyd Thompson
Cattles plc (Nottingham)
“Cattles is one of the largest providers of financial services to the non-standard consumer credit market. Despite limited resources, the team delivered a truly innovative and creative communications strategy,” Leaitherland explained.

Partnerships in Business - sponsored by Insider
Capita Education Resourcing (Manchester)
“Capita Recruitment Vetting Service was set up to provide a secure process for Criminal Records Bureau checks. The entry centred on its regeneration projects and its high level of involvement with local community initiatives,” said Leaitherland.

Innovation in Recruitment - sponsored by Search Consultancy
First Choice Holidays (Salford)
“First Choice is an international tour operator that met the challenge of implementing a recruitment website within six weeks to recruit an astonishing 11,000 workers within five months,” Leaitherland commented.

Excellence in HR Through Technology - sponsored by Vizual Business Tools Plc
McDonald’s (London)
“McDonald's has developed a groundbreaking and entirely new platform for internal communication and employee learning named 'Our Lounge'. The lounge develops employees’ skills and confidence by allowing them to gain qualifications in literacy and numeracy,” explained Leaitherland.

Outstanding Leadership in HR - sponsored by DWF
Trinity-Chiesi Pharmaceuticals Ltd (Manchester)
“Sharon Benson created and now leads the small HR team, who are exceptionally proactive in connecting the HR function to the rest of the business. They have improved employee engagement, loyalty and perceptions and have been instrumental in driving business growth,” said Leaitherland.

An additional award announced on the night was the ‘Inspirational Leaders in Human Resources Management’ which was awarded to McDonald’s, in recognition of their outstanding commitment to their people.


Notes to editors
DWF is one of the fastest growing regional law firms in the UK and has recently merged with Ricksons. With over 820 people based in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Preston, DWF provides a range of services grouped under the following practice areas:

Banking & Finance
Business Recovery
Real Estate
Private Client

DWF has developed extensive sector-specific expertise in a number of areas including: automotive, education, food and resourcing. Further information on DWF is available via

Media enquiries to:
Sam Dabbs
Dabbs PR & Marketing
T: 01939 210503 or 07711 672893