The winners of the 2014 LGiU & CCLA C’llr Achievement Awards were announced at an awards ceremony in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour, Westminster City Hall, on 25th February 2014. Congratulations to the winners, and to all the shortlisted councillors whose achievements were celebrated.
We’d like to extend our thanks to the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, for being our keynote speaker, and to Westminster City Council for kindly hosting the ceremony. We’d also like to thank our sponsors Age UK and CCLA for helping to make the C’llr Awards happen.
Lastly, thanks also to everyone who attended the ceremony and helped us to recognise the important and unsung work that councillors do for our communities up and down the country.
The winners are as follows:
Age UK Award: Cllr Janet Burgess, London Borough of Islington
Special Mention: Cllr Steve Evans, Wolverhampton City Council
Cllr Burgess has been a vocal advocate for Islington’s older people throughout her time as a Councillor and particularly in her role as Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing. Some of her main achievements include establishing the council’s first Older People’s Champions, arranging a Pensioners Lunch for 100 older people, and fighting to provide free swimming for over 60s in all Islington council funded leisure centres. Judges felt that Cllr Burgess set an excellent example to others on issues such as ending 15 minute care visits.
Bruce-Lockhart Member Scholarship: Cllr Linsay Cunningham-Cross, City of York Council
Judges were impressed with Cllr Cunningham-Cross’ proposal to develop a model for increasing engagement and participation in local democracy. Building on the practical experiences of citizen engagement around the country, Cllr Cunningham-Cross will seek to develop a robust tool for local authorities to assess their progress towards greater collaboration and participation.
CCLA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Financial Performance: Cllr Stephen Edwards, Forest Heath District Council & Cllr David Ray, St Edmundsbury Borough Council
Judges praised the clear focus of Cllrs Edwards and Ray, and were impressed by their success in bringing together two district councils. They worked together to secure financial stability through joint service delivery. They cut out duplication and inefficiency, achieved significant savings, maintained service levels for residents and businesses and laid the foundations for meeting future budget pressures.
Community Champion of the Year: Cllr Jack Hopkins, London Borough of Lambeth
Cllr Hopkins was named this year’s Community Champion of the Year for his role in driving forward an innovative Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme (NEP). The programme has brought together residents, community groups, council officers and local Councillors to jointly shape and deliver £1m local improvements to their local area. Judges praised the way the programme has transformed how the council engages with its residents.
Digital Innovator of the Year: Cllr Theo Blackwell, London Borough of Camden
Cllr Blackwell led LB Camden’s first digital strategy, encouraging collaboration and new thinking across the council, as well as building partnerships with business. Innovations at the council include coding of after school clubs, expanded public wi-fi access, peer-to-peer lending schemes, and digital inclusion work in social housing. Judges were impressed both by Cllr Blackwell’s vision and the impact he has made.
Judges’ Special Award for Contribution to Local Government: Awarded jointly to Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Cllr Lord Peter Smith, Wigan Council
Sir Merrick has made an outstanding contribution to local government both as a council leader, leader of London Councils and latterly as Chairman of the Local Government Association. As Chairman of the LGA he has established a strong consensus amongst all the main political parties to defend and promote the work and reputation of local councils at a national level. As Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Sir Merrick helped pioneer the tri-borough partnership with Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham. Judges commended Sir Merrick’s astonishing contribution to local government and felt he was a most worthy winner.
Judges recognised Cllr Lord Peter Smith’s impressive length of service, serving on Wigan Council for 36 years, including 22 years as Leader, making him one of the longest serving leaders in the country. He is a powerful voice of local government in the House of Lords, leading debates on big issues that affect councils. Judges also commended Lord Smith for his work chairing the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the first in the country.
Leader of the Year: Cllr Jim McMahon, Oldham Council.
Special Mention: Cllr Jane Scott, Wiltshire Council
Cllr McMahon was named Leader of the Year for his outstanding leadership for Oldham since being elected in 2011. His strong leadership has helped lead to a dramatic improvement in service delivery and correlating significant improvement in resident satisfaction rates. Judges noted that Cllr McMahon has transformed the council and established the cooperative approach as its clear vision.
Partnership Achievement of the Year: Cllr Jenny Whittle, Kent County Council
In February 2012 Coram, the charity which works with vulnerable children, was commissioned to improve the Adoption Service in Kent. This innovative partnership only came about due to the leadership of Cllr Whittle, who was at the forefront of moving from a traditional local authority service delivery model to a unique cross-sector partnership model. Judges were impressed by Cllr Whittle’s fresh approach and leadership on this important issue.
Scrutineer of the Year: Cllr Nigel Cooke, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
Cllr Cooke played a vital role in developing the Affordable Warmth Strategy at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council. He also set up and chairs the Fuel Poverty Partnership, which aims to reduce the effects of fuel poverty on the health and well-being of local people, as well as working to ensure more homes meet the Decent Homes Standard. Cllr Cooke was commended by judges for his collaborative approach in working to end fuel poverty.
Sustainability Champion of the Year: Cllr Rob Curtis, Vale of Glamorgan Council
Cllr Rob Curtis was named this year’s Sustainability Champion of the Year. He was commended by judges for working with members across the political spectrum to ensure support for sustainability initiatives. This includes introducing a policy to reduce the Council’s carbon emission’s by 70% through use of LED lights, gaining Fair Trade status for the council, and ensuring the council procures all wooden products from sustainable sources. Judges were impressed by the strength and breadth of his personal efforts.
Young Councillor of the Year: Cllr Rhodri Oliver, North Norfolk District Council
Special Mention: Cllr Rosie Denham, Exeter City Council
Cllr Oliver became the youngest deputy leader in the country at age 22 at the beginning of 2013, setting a fantastic example for young people in politics. He was instrumental in gaining £30,000 for a new state-of-the-art skateboard park and has also raised over £100,000 for a new multi-use games area. He also worked closely with the Sheringham Little Theatre and ensured that £45,000 of works were done externally to improve the building. The judges were impressed that Cllr Oliver has achieved a leadership position at a very young age, and during a turbulent time for North Norfolk District Council. They felt it was a great achievement to have the trust of fellow councillors and to be deputy leader in this context.
Once again, we would like to give our thanks to everyone who nominated a councillor for the 2014 C’llr Achievement Awards, and our congratulations to all the winners!