Shivani Lakhani honoured to be awarded OBE for social service
She shared the honour with her team saying it went to some of the brightest, most dedicated and compassionate people she has ever worked with. Shivani Lakhani OBE
THE annual Queen’s Birthday Honours 2022 bring with them an added fervour since this year also marks the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years in service. To give the 96-year-old monarch a tribute, noted personalities from various walks of the society have been chosen to be awarded for their outstanding contributions, particularly for a sustained public service.
More than 40 professionals of Indian descent have made it to the list and among them is Shivani Lakhani, Society Team Lead, Covid-19 Taskforce, Cabinet Office. She has been honoured with the OBE for her services to Vulnerable Communities during the Covid-19 Response, in her position as Head of Societal Analysis, COVID-19 Taskforce, Cabinet Office.
Shivani, who resides in Islington, is 31 and eight years ago she took a career break to volunteer in schools in Kenya and India. This experience made her quit her job and decided to pursue a career in social policy, applying for an appropriate position in the Civil Service.
For the last five years she has worked across the Department for Education and the Cabinet Office, first in children’s social care policy and then later, in emergency preparedness and response. Throughout her time there she has worked actively on four national crises.
In 2020 she was asked to work on the Government’s pandemic response. She built a team that provided the government with advice on how the pandemic was impacting society, with a focus on children, vulnerable groups and public services. It is through this work that she and her team were able to influence government policy and investment, securing further support and protection for vulnerable groups and communities.
Shivani said she feels extremely privileged and honoured to have been awarded an OBE as part of the birthday Honour’s list. She said she was eager to share this exceptional news with everyone after being advised of the award in April, but kept it under wraps until the public announcement on 2 June. She still feels aghast in a way but absolutely thrilled.
Speaking over her achievement, to Eastern Eye, Lakhani said, “I feel extremely honoured to have been awarded an OBE as part of the birthday Honours’ list. Over the past two+ years, I have been a part of, and led, a brilliant team in the Cabinet Office who have worked tirelessly to represent vulnerable, marginalised and underrepresented communities – those who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
“We have done our best to give these communities a voice in government, using data and evidence to highlight how they have been impacted by the pandemic and instigating change in government policy to improve, and save, lives. I am incredibly proud of what we have all achieved.”
Shivani also stated that “this honour represents so much more than just me:
“It’s for some of the brightest, most dedicated and compassionate people I’ve ever worked with. The absolute dream team, I feel privileged to have worked alongside them.”
“It’s to highlight what the Civil Service achieves behind closed doors and to shine a light on its brilliance.”
“And most importantly, the recognition shows that regardless of your age or background, change is possible with absolute dedication and belief. Dream big and surround yourself with people who encourage you to do that.”
Shivani is daughter of Rashilaben Lakhani and Subhashbhai Lakhani, who is chairman of Vaishnav Sangh of UK, Charity organisation which manages Shrinathdham Haveli in Harrow, London and Vrajdham Haveli, Leicester.