Burnley civil servant Heather 'speechless' after being honoured by the Queen

A Burnley resident and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) employee has been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list 2022.

By Faiza Afzaal
Sunday, 2nd January 2022, 9:18 am
Updated Sunday, 2nd January 2022, 9:20 am

Heather Murray, who is a long-standing civil servant since 1980 and is currently Senior Partnership Manager at DWP, has been awarded an OBE – an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, for her services to vulnerable people and social justice.

Heather’s civil service career began in 1980 at DWP in her local Supplementary Benefits team when she just was 18 years old. Since then, Heather has worked in various roles at DWP, bettering the lives of vulnerable and multi-disadvantaged DWP customers.

She has worked tirelessly over the years to build and deliver support programmes working with external organisations including the NHS and substance misuse and skills providers, that help protect people from homelessness and onto a better journey of finding sustained work.

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Heather Murray OBE

Reacting to her award, Heather Murray, said: “I was speechless when I received my award. My friends will tell you that is a first. It was such a wonderful shock and made me immensely proud. I then thought about my mum and dad how proud they would have been.

“The fact that my colleagues have taken the time to nominate me makes it more meaningful.

“It’s lovely to get such personal recognition, but to me, it’s all about my teams and partnerships at work and it is only because I have met and worked with some really great people over the years that l’ve been able to do what I do.

“I joined DWP in November 1980 as a shy 18-year-old and my colleagues made me feel very welcome. I have made some great friendships - many I still have to this day.

“From when I first started working at DWP, I had a real sense of the work we do and the positive impact it has on individuals and communities. I’ve always remained inspired by this.

“I remember in my earlier days working for the Pension Service as a visiting officer and seeing a customer referred from Macmillan. Meeting people who need us and knowing what I can do to make their lives better gives me a real sense of duty in the service we deliver and I’m so grateful I’ve had the privilege to make a difference to people’s lives over the years.

“I’ve had various promotions and worked in different areas at DWP including finance, debt management, visiting teams, pensions, and currently in jobcentres leading social justice, through prison work coaches and employer and partnership teams. I passionately believe working in partnership with our stakeholders, we can support our customers with multiple disadvantages on better paths.”

Heather Murray is one of 17 DWP employees recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours 2022. Every year the honours system marks the achievements and breadth of service given by extraordinary people across the United Kingdom.

DWP Lords Minister Baroness Stedman-Scott said: “It’s fantastic to see such inspiring people working at DWP being recognised for their conscious efforts to bring about positive changes in our world – whether through their role at work or in their spare time.

“I congratulate every single one of them and those across the wider civil service, who have been awarded for going above and beyond to help others. Thank you for all you do.”