This year is our fifth year of making the awards, which celebrate the best achievements, bravest ideas and most creative collaborations of the year in the public and voluntary sectors.
It is always a difficult task, given the wide range of services covered by the awards. Entries cover health, elderly care, youth work and education, social work and community safety, to mention just a few, with nominations coming from a wide range of state-funded projects and charity schemes.
This year, as editor of Herald Society, I will be chairing the judging panel, and helping choose the winners in the company of an impressive group of expert judges.
We make the awards each year in association with the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland, and their director, Jackie Killeen will be an advisor to the judging panel. Prior to becoming director, Ms Killeen was Big's head of policy and public affairs and she has taken part in a range of ministerial advisory groups and policy forums. Before joining Big she worked in regeneration and the arts.
Joining us for the judging will be Professor June Andrews, the director of the University of Stirling's Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC). Prof Andrews is a former director of nursing of two general hospitals and led the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland, as well as working for the Government in the Health Department. Under her leadership the DSDC has increased in prominence and gained an international reputation as dementia has risen up the policy agenda.
Also on the judging panel is Karyn McCluskey, of the Violence Reduction Unit. She helped to set up the ground-breaking Strathclyde Police initiative in 2004, founded to implement a different way of addressing violence in Scotland. With an 18-year career in the police, she has also worked within the NHS and the Prison Service and was awarded the title Female Director of the Year by the Institute of Directors in April.
Alex Wood is a former head teacher, an educational consultant and occasional columnist for Herald Society and several other print and online publications. As a teacher, he worked for 15 years in Craigroyston Community High School, became head teacher of Kaimes School, and subsequently became head teacher of Wester Hailes Education Centre in 2000. He retired from there in 2011 and is currently working freelance for Edinburgh University's Scottish Centre for Studies in School Administration and for the Scottish Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society.
Reevel Alderson is one of BBC Scotland's longest-serving journalists, having joined Radio Scotland in June 1980 as a reporter.
He is also one of our longest-serving judges, having brought to the role his experience of a wide variety of specialisms including acting as Radio Scotland's Home Affairs Correspondent with a wide-ranging brief including coverage of police, prisons, the criminal justice system and social affairs.
Last, but far from least, Heather Gray is the director of the Prince's Trust in Scotland. She was appointed country director for the charity last September, and has extensive experience of working with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people, as well as more than 15 years of senior management experience within the public and third sector.
Prior to joining the Prince's Trust she worked as chief executive of Who Cares? in Scotland, enhancing the reputation and the impact of the charity which speaks up for children and young people in care.
The awards will be presented as part of our special event on November 2 in Glasgow.
The Herald Society Awards and Ideas Exchange, in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund, will include a keynote speaker, insights from past winners of Herald Society awards, into how they achieved their success and how they have developed their work, and the presentation of the awards themselves.
These will be presented in 12 categories: Education initiative of the year, sponsored by Thinktastic; Environmental initiative of the year; Young people's project of the year (under 24s) , sponsored by Improvement Service; Older people's project of the year (60 plus); Campaigner(s) of the year, sponsored by Third Sector Lab; Health provider of the year; the Equalities award; the Partnership award, sponsored by Glasgow Housing Association; The Herald Society worker of the year; The Herald Society Team of the year; Community project of the year, sponsored by EVH; and the Unsung Hero award, sponsored by Big Lottery Fund. For more information on the event, see www.herald-events.com/societyawards/ideas-exchange, or call 0141 302 7319.