(L-R) Royal Mail’s Charlie Ryan, Janani Rathakrishnan, Rachel Squires, James Jone and Luke Ryan

Finalists: GB Group; National Grid (highly commended); The Crown Estate.

Royal Mail Group won the Legal Department of the Year (Commerce and Industry) award having implemented a strategy to transform the team from an advisory function into an agile and efficient partner to the wider business.

That has been achieved by restructuring the department, as well as reducing its reliance on outside counsel and encouraging co-workers to take ownership of low risk legal work to free the team to handle more important matters. That has meant training colleagues, standardising contracts and introducing an in-house application that enables staff outside of the legal department to carry out certain tasks.

The goal to become a greater contributor to the business has seen the team take a more proactive approach to tackling fraud, protecting revenue and recovering debt, helping save the company millions of pounds.

“A clear winner. They empowered the legal team and it made cash contributions to the organisation. They have a clear strategy in what’s been a very stodgy company,” one judge enthused.