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Meet the judges: Sam des Forges 

Sam des Forges, Director of Conduct, Equity & Justice, Ministry of Defence

In February 2021, Sam was appointed the first ever Ministry of Defence (MOD) Director of Diversity and Inclusion, later renamed Director of Conduct, Equity and Justice to better reflect the breadth of the portfolio. She provides support, and challenge, to colleagues across the Whole Force to ensure that Defence truly harnesses the power of difference to drive capability that safeguards our nation’s security and stability.

Her portfolio includes D&I, the transformation of the Service Justice and Service Complaints systems, the implementation of recommendations from various reviews related to culture and unacceptable behaviours and the establishment of the Defence Serious Crime Unit and capability.

Sam was previously the Director of Assurance, leading a diverse team of professionals who delivered risk, assurance, counter-fraud, anti-corruption and cost management activities across Defence. The Directorate provided support, challenge and assurance to MOD senior leadership in addressing the most complex challenges Defence faces and scrutinising strategic decisions.

Prior to January 2019, Sam was MOD Head of Fraud Defence, leading on the prevention, detection and investigation of fraud and corruption in Defence. Sam worked with cross-government colleagues to develop and launch the Government Counter Fraud Profession and Functional Standard. She liaised with the defence industry, NATO, international allies and partners on counter-fraud and corruption matters.

Sam joined the MOD in July 2016 from Network Rail, where she was Head of Business Integrity. Prior to joining Network Rail in 2013, Samantha spent 15 years with Ernst & Young where she led a variety of multi-jurisdictional fraud, bribery and corruption investigations and anti-fraud governance reviews.

Sam is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) and an ICAEW Accredited Forensic Accountant.

Sam is the Defence LGBT+ Champion and Senior Role Model, an advocate for members of the community across Defence, providing strategic guidance and supporting the work of the LGBT+ networks. She was previously the MOD Gender Champion and remains an active supporter of the MOD Gender networks.