On Tuesday night we hosted the ninth annual Cllr Achievement Awards, the only awards to recognise the achievements of elected members. The evening has become a staple of the local government calendar and the largest annual cross-party gathering of council leaders outside the LGA conference.
We were pleased to welcome so many councillors and friends of local government from across the country to hear inspiring stories of hard work and passion paying off for the benefit of local communities across the country.
Cllr Michael Payne, Chair of LGiU and Deputy Leader of Gedling, welcomed guests and John Kelly, Director of Client Investments at CCLA explained by CCLA was pleased to have supported the awards since their inception.
Then Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of LGiU, began the awards presentation.
Cllr Steve Criswell (Cambridgeshire County Council) was nominated for his work in reducing demand for council health and wellbeing services by building and supporting community resilience. As part of this, he has launched the ‘Innovate and Cultivate Fund’ which provides grants to community organisations to encourage locally-driven projects that support council priorities.
Cllr Samata Khatoon (London Borough of Camden] has been working tirelessly to empower women and BAME people in Camden. Among other things, she has supported a resident’s association to start a gardening project that offers a chance for BAME women to socialise outside their home, she has set up a cross-party working group to encourage girls to participate in sports, and has helped immigrant women to take online English Language courses.
Cllr Mark Wilson (Cumbria County Council) has been nominated for the work that he has done to prevent flooding in Ulverston town, as well as his ‘MensSheds’ project which brings together isolated men within the community in order to tackle loneliness.
Cllr Dr Mahamed Hashi (London Borough of Lambeth) is recognised for the contributions he has made to his community, which include setting up the Brixton Soup Kitchen to aid the homeless as well as organising the ‘New Beginnings’ group, which helps individuals to leave gangs safely.
Cllr TJ Haworth-Culfe (Suffolk Coastal Council) has been described as an outstanding councillor and has led many projects that have benefitted her community, including carnivals, sporting events and fundraisers such as the Suffolk Armed Forces Weekend. She has also worked on the re-development of the local leisure centre, which re-opened last year, in a bid to make residents more active.
Cllr Daniel Land (Tendring District Council) was nominated by more than 20 people, including many residents, demonstrating how active he is within his local ward. He has been praised for his voluntary work, defending residents’ say over planning and fixing pot holes.
Cllr Celia Hibbert (City of Wolverhampton Council) received several nominations for her work as a Wolverhampton councillor. Although fairly new to the role, residents of the area have taken note of the vital work she is doing to empower women, inviting local female politicians and businesswomen to speak at networking events which attract a wide-ranging female audience from across the borough.
Cllr Dr Mahamed Hashi – London Borough of Lambeth
The judges were impressed by Cllr Hashi’s boundless energy and wide range of work that he is involved in, which includes helping homeless people within Lambeth, working with gangs and working within committee to advise the police about local issues. Judges also highlighted the difficulties of being a councillor within a challenging community environment. His level of involvement is exemplified by the injury he sustained when he was shot trying to break up a fight, and since then he has introduced measures such as the ‘New Beginnings’ youth organisation to help individuals to leave gang life safely, which judges noted is a key social issue in London.
Health and Care Award
Councillor Aneela Ahmed (Bradford City Council) was nominated for her work as Dementia Champion at Bradford council, ensuring that all councillors have dementia training, as well as introducing a Community First Responder team and securing funding for public access defibrillators.
Councillor Stephen Thomas (Hartlepool Borough Council) has been recognised for his undying support for care workers, creating opportunities that make care an attractive career path and pushing the council to adopt the Ethical Care Charter. He has also overseen a major improvement in the quality of residential care through the Care Quality Improvement programme, with the percentage ‘Good’ rated care homes rising from 64% to 79%.
Councillor Clare Mosdell (Isle of Wight Council) is Cabinet member for Adult Social Care, Mental Health and Public Health and has worked to improve direct transfers of care while implementing a ‘care closer to home’ policy on the Isle of Wight, which has a large elderly population. This has been achieved by ensuring that more care is available on the Island itself, and transferring more complex cases to the mainland for treatment.
Councillor Michelle Lowe (Sevenoaks District Council) was nominated for the implementation of the ‘wellbeing starts at home’ policy, as well as efforts to treat those with ill health holistically by intervening before they enter the health and social care system, and for overseeing the creation of the successful West Kent hospital discharge scheme which has unlocked the power of collaborative working across the county.
Councillor Marlene Quinn (St. Helens Council) has been praised for her work on the integrated care approach, in a committee-led partnership between the NHS, housing associations and the fire authority. She has actively campaigned for this approach and has secured a £1.6 million investment in the policy.
Councillor Michelle Lowe – Sevenoaks District Council
Councillor Lowe impressed judges with her proven track record of helping her community stay healthy with the implementation of her ‘wellbeing starts at home’ and ‘early intervention’ policies. She has also taken the initiative to share her findings with peers in other councils and has built coalitions across Kent, demonstrating the impressive impact that district councils can have on health and care policy.
Finance and Transformation Award
Councillors Peter Patrick (Babergh District Council) and Glen Horn (Mid-Suffolk District Council) were nominated for the joint work they have done to improve the financial position of Mid-Suffolk and Babergh councils by merging the operations of the two, and subsequently making savings of £13 million over the past seven years, which was reinvested in services by local authorities.
Councillor Dominic Twomey (London Borough of Barking and Dagenham) has headed the Ambition 2020 scheme in Barking and Dagenham which has saved 1,000 jobs within the borough despite the cuts to funding, as well of the introduction of the Reside model which allowed flats to be let to families at an affordable rate.
Councillor Abi Brown (Stoke-on-Trent City Council) has caught the attention of her local MP for the hard work that she has put into a number of bids she put forward, which aim to improve the economy of Stoke-on-Trent. This includes securing Enterprise Zones within the local Ceramic Valley, despite a previous unsuccessful bid, regenerating brownfield sites and introducing fibre broadband through the zones.
Councillor Shane Hebb (Thurrock Council) is recognised for taking over the Finance portfolio in 2016, following which the council succeeded in balancing its budget with minimal impact on services and despite the initial £30 million deficit that Shane took on. This was done by recognising commercial opportunities and following an investment approach to generate income, using alternative delivery methods and through early intervention projects.
Judges’ special mention
Councillors Peter Patrick and Glen Horn – Babergh and Mid-Suffolk District Council
Judges noted that Councillors Peter Patrick and Glen Horn’s efforts to merge services across their two councils’ services was a particularly impressive achievement considering they managed to save £13m across two relatively small district councils, unlocking cash to reinvest into local services. Moreover, judges were struck by the hands-on approach that Cllrs Patrick and Horn had taken to implement the savings, taking pains to involve staff in the process.
Councillor Shane Hebb – Thurrock Council
Judges commended Cllr Hebb’s transformative effect on Thurrock council’s finances. Since taking on the Finance Portfolio he has succeeded in alleviating a substantial deficit through adopting an ‘outside the box’ commercial approach that avoided salami-slicing services and minimised the impact on residents. Judges also noted that Cllr Hebb had succeeded in taking on a challenging portfolio at a young age.
Place-shaping and Environment Award
Councillor Clive Arthey (Babergh District Council) has successfully reduced the waste being sent to landfill sites in his ward from 85% to 1% by the introduction of his ‘energy from waste’ scheme which generates energy from incinerated rubbish, and has also been recognised for implementing a locally sensitive housing development in Babergh.
Councillor Noel Brown (Buckinghamshire County Council) is nominated for his work reducing doorstep crime within Buckinghamshire by tackling loneliness. This project involves members of the community in helping them to recognise and support vulnerable residents.
Councillor Tim Gwilliam (Forest of Dean District Council) was nominated for this award by several people, who praised his achievement leading a rainbow coalition within the Forest of Dean, creating partnerships with ministers and other local authorities, improving transparency by web casting council meetings, working to save the local leisure centre and developing an orchard which provides free fruit to residents.
Councillor Gail Harris (Norwich City Council) has been working for the past six years championing safeguarding and the prevention of domestic abuse while also working on housing developments which saw the provision of a large number of low energy, affordable, high quality homes.
Councillor Iain Malcolm (South Tyneside Council) has the strong support of his council behind him with his multiple nominations for the £100 million investment in the centre of South Shields, as well as the North East’s Industrial Advanced Manufacturing park, which has led to an increase of jobs in the local area.
Councillor Victoria Mills (London Borough of Southwark) is tonight recognised for her extensive work around education and children’s services, campaigning for more places in local schools attracting £200 million investment for existing schools to create new places, and improving their national standing, as well as bettering the OFSTED rating for children’s services, and delivering a new super-playground in Peckham.
Councillors Graham Parker & Bob Baldwin (West Devon Borough Council) and Cllrs Judy Pearce and Michael Hicks (South Hams District Council) have been jointly nominated for their locally-sensitive and inclusive place-making project. The councils delivered the ambitious Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan that allowed more flexibility in the placement of new developments, collaborating across different political environments and authority types to attract investment and build new homes.
Councillor Iain Malcolm – South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council
Councillor Malcolm represents an area which has historically suffered from serious deprivation, but has seen a remarkable change in fortune in recent times, in large part thanks to Cllr Malcolm’s ambitious whole-place vision. Thanks to the £100 million investment he has plugged into the town centre and the work to attract and set up the new Advanced Manufacturing park, he has succeeded in increasing job opportunities and making the area a vibrant place to live and work.
Technology and Digital Award
Councillor Angela Tait (Bradford City Council) is noted for being a STEM ambassador in Bradford and championing technology within the borough, running a ‘Kid’s Lab’ to encourage more young people to follow careers in science and technology, and promoting the subjects within local government.
Councillor Ian Bates (Cambridgeshire County Council) has been nominated for his initiative to promote businesses by using smart technology, and advocating the need for superfast broadband across Cambridgeshire which is now 96% covered, while also investing in a solar farm which generates a return that is re-directed back into services.
Councillor Liz Fairhurst (Hampshire County Council) is recognised by the projects she has led to improve health and care by investing in technology, for example trialling the use of voice-controlled Amazon Alexa consoles for patients with physical disabilities, improving care home technology, and launching a private pay scheme for patients to purchase assistive technology who do not qualify for adult social care.
Councillor Dr. Shrobona Bhattacharya (South Cambridgeshire District Council) was nominated across several categories, however judges were impressed by her work encouraging children into science by holding regular robotics workshops and introducing the Cambourne Science Festival. These festivals and workshops have not only increased interest in science and technology within her ward but also frequently brought the community together to learn and create.
Councillor Nazia Rehman (Wigan Council) was nominated for driving transformation in Wigan with the use of technology. She has aided the digital upskilling of residents and reduced digital exclusion within the borough with the rollout of the IDEA award scheme which sees families complete online digital skills courses together, as well as using technology to answer residents’ queries.
Councillor Ian Bates – Cambridgeshire County Council
Councillor Bates impressed the judges with his recognition of the importance of getting the foundations right in terms of digital inclusivity, overseeing large-scale projects to improve public WiFi access and 5G coverage, especially in rural parts of Cambridgeshire; Thanks to Cllr Bates’ advocacy Cambridgeshire is now 96% covered by superfast broadband, a crucial aspect of modern life and important for both residents and businesses. Judges also commended his business-like approach when persuading the council to invest £10m in a solar farm which has subsequently been able to reinvest revenue back into local services.
Cllr Steve Criswell collected the award on Cllr Bates’ behalf.
Young Councillor of the Year
Councillor Lorna Russell (London Borough of Camden) was nominated for this award due to her commitment to improving air quality through her various committee roles, setting up Residents’ Associations for the first time in Fortune Green, campaigning successfully to save a local bus route, improving disabled access on public transport within the borough, and reducing litter in the area with Clean-up Cricklewood.
Councillor Jordan Rowse (Cornwall Council) is the youngest councillor on Cornwall Council, as well as tonight’s youngest nominee, and is dedicated to leading beach cleans and championing green issues. He has worked with the Parish council to preserve local community assets, and has also assisted on the STARR project which helps to prevent flooding in the area.
Councillor Tom Coole (Gloucester City Council) has been a councillor since the age of twenty and is known for increasing council transparency by holding meetings outside the council building once a month that all residents can access, and has changed the council’s policy to ban single use plastic. He has also instigated a scrutiny review of the council’s rollout of universal credit and brought in an organisation to tackle knife crime amongst young people.
Councillor Jordan Meade (Gravesham Borough Council) was nominated for his dedication to supporting other young people in Gravesham, engaging them in street art in order to promote the town’s heritage, as well as leading in the celebration of Pocahontas – a project which involved students in the UK and the US – while also being involved in commissioning a statue of the Queen.
Councillor Kelham Cooke (South Kesteven District Council) has been the driving force behind redeveloping Grantham town centre to improve pedestrian and cycle access, create new leisure opportunities and to expand the local night time economy. He has also negotiated partnerships with multi-national digital businesses to create shared teams to launch cutting edge technology in a local government context, including artificial intelligence and predictive analytics.
Councillor Beverley Momenabadi (City of Wolverhampton Council) received an impressive number of nominations for this award, despite only having been a councillor since May, for the work that she has done both within and outside the council, inspiring homeless people to vote, improving community engagement by holding public workshops on key political issues such as Brexit, reducing fly tipping within her ward, while also volunteering with projects supporting vulnerable residents including street workers and homeless youths.
As mayor Councillor Alex Harman (Worthing Borough Council) has preserved a number of traditions for the borough of Worthing, for example by hosting a weekend long remembrance event, which included unveiling a WWI memorial plaque, and deepening relationships with Richebourg in France by twinning the towns. Outside of mayoral work he has been known to dress up as Batman to fundraise for local charities and engages actively with young people by using social media.
Judges’ special mention
Councillor Alex Harman – Worthing Borough Council
Councillor Harman impressed judges with his engagement of young people in their history through the weekend-long remembrance event for soldiers who died in WWI, many of whom would have been the same age as the young people that Cllr Harman was reaching out to. They also noted that he was using his youth to attract other young people into politics through social media and admired his fancy dress tactics in fundraising for local charities!
Councillor Tom Coole – Gloucester City Council
Judges commended the impact that Councillor Coole has had from the position of opposition within the council, from making improvements to council scrutiny and improving the local politicial transparency, to helping to tackle knife crime and encouraging the council to adopt new environmental strategies. Judges felt that it is important to recognise the impact that opposition councillors can have when operating from a less powerful position.
Leader of the Year
Councillor Darren Rodwell (London Borough of Barking and Dagenham) is nominated for the introduction of the Every One Every Day programme which looks to work with 25,000 residents and create 250 projects throughout the borough. He has succeeded in increasing community engagement through residents’ projects such as planting trees, supporting new local businesses, holding workshops and festivals and setting up advisory groups.
Councillor Adam Paynter (Cornwall Council) stood out for his transformation of Cornwall by enabling satellite launches from Newquay in partnership with Virgin Orbit, creating new jobs and securing a £25 million increase to the economy, as well as boosting the tourist industry. He has also spearheaded devolution in Cornwall, and successfully assisted families affected by flash flooding in 2017.
Councillor Linda Haysey (East Hertfordshire District Council) has been nominated thanks to her hands-on approach to planning developments in Hertfordshire, by alleviating residents’ concerns about developing new homes on green belt land, and improving public trust.
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher (Hartlepool Borough Council) is recognised for the instrumental improvement he has made to Hartlepool’s tourism industry with the building of the new Navy museum, as well as his time spent actively engaging with the community, and introducing free swims for children under the age of 16.
Councillor Janet Walton (Poole Borough Council) has been highly praised for her leadership in a challenging time for Poole. When she took over as leader, Cllr Walton engaged the many new members in future strategy and has built a strong and collaborative cabinet team. She has also been heavily involved in successfully steering the Dorset unitarisation negotiations, chairing some very challenging meetings with other Dorset leaders.
Councillor Roger Lawrence (City of Wolverhampton Council) is recognised for his consistently strong leadership over more than a decade, which has resulted in a £3.7 billion investment in the city, vast improvement in children services despite regional deprivation, and supporting 3,000 people into work, both by creating jobs and by improving qualifications with his Wolves@Work scheme.
Judges’ special mention
Councillor Linda Haysey – East Hertfordshire District Council
Councillor Haysey was commended by judges for sticking her head above the parapet in order to ensure the acceptance of the development of two garden towns on greenbelt land. Judges commented that it is often tempting for a leader to offload the tricky community liaison issues in developing Local Plans to others, but Cllr Haysey has taken a personal lead in speaking to residents and gaining their support for what could have been a contentious plan.
Councillor Roger Lawrence – City of Wolverhampton Council
Judges felt that not only had Councillor Lawrence shown consistently strong leadership in implementing a longterm vision for Wolverhampton, but had also had an important impact on a regional and national level through his work setting up the West Midlands Combined Authority. In addition, he has had an important impact on local employment with the successful Wolves@Work scheme and through the impressive regeneration projects he has overseen.
Lord Porter of Spalding, Chairman of the LGA and Leader of South Holland District Council, gave a short speech congratulating the winners and praising the hard work of councillors across the country.
Jonathan Carr-West then closed by thanking our sponsors, CCLA, our judging panel, and everyone who made a nomination.
Congratulations to all our winners and thank you to everyone who attended #CllrAwards18 !