In our view your should allow a whole year for each season of your own internal Peer Awards. These are the key stages in the process…

Deciding the categories and sub-categories that you propose, organising your team to run this internally for you, and arranging for the venue for the conference where finalists are judged.

Launching the awards globally for a multi-national organisation or network can require more time and support than doing so on a smaller more local scale.

Collecting entries
Typically you would allow a number of months for candidates to consider and to submit their entries. The Open Peer Awards allow eight months for this.

Filtering and shortlisting
If you expect hundreds of entries then these will take some days to filter through, in some cases possibly going back to a candidate for clarification of some details. The best entrants need to be grouped into suitable sub-categories, and then the conference agenda can be specified.

Preparing finalists
People need a period of time from the moment that they learn that they are shortlisted until the actual conference, to consider and prepare their conference talks and associated visuals. Because this preparation may have to fit alongside their normal workload, you should allow say a couple of months for this stage.

Judging at conference
The conference takes place with a whole day allocated to each category. You may find that you need an extra day or days where your award category has more sub-categories (each of which requires its own room for half a day) than your conference venue can accommodate all on the same day.

Announcing & celebrating
We suggest that you aim to announce a category’s winners at the end of the conference day where the judging has happened. This can become a great celebration of your organisations’ innovative ideas and inspirational sharing of good practice.

Allow a few months for us to create with you the wording and illustrations for your celebration in the Independent newspaper and at The Times microsite, and for it to pass through their editorial control. This will then be published at The Times microsite, and will appear in the next of our two annual supplements in the Independent newspaper.

The Open Peer Awards
We encourage your winners to also participate as finalists in the Open Peer Awards, subject to suitability and availability.