MBEs for TalkTalk Colleagues who Kept the UK Connected During COVID-19

Two of TalkTalk Business’s Senior Delivery Managers, who played crucial roles in the connection of critical infrastructure during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, were awarded MBEs for their outstanding services to telecommunications in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours in October.

 

Peter Harding and Andrew Miller are both based in our Salford headquarters, and their extraordinary service and commitment saw key infrastructure connected despite unprecedented logistical challenges, including implementing or upgrading connectivity at 15 NHS sites, 12 food distribution centres, five schools and three care homes in the region. They also led the delivery of critical infrastructure at medical sites across the UK, including at the Nightingale Hospitals in Excel London, Harrogate and Exeter and 80 GP surgeries nationwide.

 

During a period of immense pressure, Pete and Andy personally stepped up to the challenge, working tirelessly over weekends and in the evenings to help manage and deliver network connections, often over the course of days, rather than weeks.

 

When the pandemic began and the scale of the impact became clear, Pete took the initiative to create a new COVID-19 process for prioritising resources and connections. This was designed to match the Government's criteria for critical sites and those which needed to be prioritised. This quick response vastly accelerated decision-making and speed of delivery, and was crucial to enabling us to move quickly to support our most-in need customers.

 

Pete worked closely with Andy to drive these deliveries, and the pair were on call 24/7 throughout the period to ensure the smooth running of new processes.

 

Andy and his team were instrumental in ensuring TalkTalk Business could connect critical COVID-19 response sites and ensuring the public sector sites had appropriate infrastructure to manage increased demand. Collaborating with key partners like Openreach, Andy personally managed the processes for connecting numerous sites of Critical National Infrastructure so that the country was connected and able to respond to the pandemic.

 

In fact, at the request of our partners, Andy managed the delivery of links for the Nightingale sites across the UK, working closely with Openreach to deliver these complex services at rapid speed. They managed to get the new sites connected in under 72 hours. These connections would normally take several weeks to install, but Andrew's commitment to getting the job done and finding new ways of working saw the team set a record for both TalkTalk Business and Openreach.

 

They were supported by their families who recognised the importance of their work and put in considerable personal effort to ensure their wellbeing.

 

When asked how it felt to receive the MBE, Pete said: “It’s very surreal to be receiving this award but it obviously makes you extremely happy and proud. None of what we achieved would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of numerous others who supported us to complete jobs, which would normally take four to six weeks, within 48 hours. This experience has demonstrated, with absolute clarity, that when faced with a challenge our teams and partners will always work together tirelessly to deliver.”

 

Andy added: “It feels very weird but amazing at the same time when it’s really just for doing your job well. The works we undertook during lockdown were not the kind you can do if you’re sat on your own. Pete and I may be the ones to receive the MBEs, but there are about 12 different whole teams of people that our work wouldn’t have been achievable without and we will continue to make sure they know who they are.”

 

 

Jonathan Kini, Managing Director, TalkTalk Business, said:

“Pete and Andy are real heroes and great guys, and I am so pleased they are being recognised for the amazing work they did to ensure the Nightingale hospitals and other critical sites were up and connected. In fact, I am incredibly proud of how all the team at TalkTalk supported, and continue to support, customers and businesses during this challenging period. A big thank you to all of them.”

 

Want to find out more about what TalkTalk did to help keep the nation connected during the Coronavirus outbreak? Read ‘A rapid response: how we’ve delivered critical connections during COVID-19’ to learn more.