For the last 10 years the RSPCA Innovator award has been given out to celebrate and recognise organisations that have adopted a pioneering approach to positively solve an issue relating to animal welfare. The award is open to any public sector organisation

The RSPCA established the Innovator due to the number of pioneering and forward thinking projects local authorities, housing providers and multi-agency groups have adopted in seeking to tackle an issue relating to animal welfare. The award recognises the work and achievement of public service providers and their employees in an area that is often criticised and rarely rewarded. These include:

  • Housing association pet champions; staff members become experts within their teams regarding the needs of animals and what type of properties are best
  • Tackling fly-grazing; local authorities working with external agencies to reduce the number of horses being tethered or fly grazed and with information on passporting and microchipping
  • Contingency planning; local authorities developing and promoting schemes to encourage and prepare residents to consider their animals in the event of an emergency situation.

With the CAWF awards celebrating their 10 birthday this year a special “Innovator of the Decade” award will be given to a previous winner or highly commended in the Innovator category, whose project is still on-going and will be judged by the external panel for it’s continuing impact on animal welfare. Previous winners have been contacted about the award however, if you haven’t please do get in touch.

Who can enter?

Local authorities, housing providers, multi-agency groups, police, fire and rescue, and the military can all win an award for their innovative approach to improving animal welfare.

Entry criteria, judging and how to win

An Innovator in Animal Welfare Award application is assessed by a panel of external judges. The award is different from the Footprint, as there are no specific criteria to meet. Instead, the panel look for inspirational and pioneering entries that can demonstrate how an animal welfare issue has been tackled in an innovative and imaginative way.

Previous entries have demonstrated new practice, encouraging others to improve animal welfare, as well as simply ensuring better communication and identifying new, cost-effective or innovative ways of tackling animal welfare issues. Projects do not have to be complex – and sometimes the simplest ideas are the most effective. Any project, event or process that you are doing may be eligible for the award.

When applying for an award you may find it useful to consider the following questions:

  • What makes your entry different from what others are doing? Why is it innovative?
  • What were the aims and reasons for doing it, and have they been achieved? If not, why not?
  • Do you have any results or outcomes (statistical or anecdotal) to support your entry?
  • How does your project improve animal welfare? ? Did you need to work with other organisations to carry out the work? If so, which?
  • Was it resource-intensive or cost effective?
  • What have you learnt from this work?
  • What is the future of the project? Is it ongoing or was it a ‘one-off’? Where could it go next?

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