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Council wins two Local Government Awards

Cornwall Council wins two Local Government Oscars

Cornwall Council has won two categories at this year’s Local Government Chronicle Awards– the Local Government equivalent of the Oscars.

The prestigious awards are designed to highlight the work of councils who are striving for excellence and have achieved significant and measured improvements.  All entrants were required to demonstrate real service improvements which local people recognise.

The authority scooped two of the national awards - the Workforce Award for Human Resources and Organisational Development and the Children’s Services Award for the work of the NewquaySafe Partnership.

“Winning two out of the five awards we were shortlisted for is a major achievement” said Council Leader Alec Robertson.  “We were only new unitary council to win an award and the only local authority to win two categories on the night. I am particularly pleased that to have received an award for the work we are doing in developing our staff. I would like to thank our staff, councillors and our partners for helping us to carry out these improvements and know that, by working together, we can achieve our aim of providing excellent and value for money services for the people of Cornwall”.

The aim of the Workforce Award is to recognise the work of local authorities in supporting and developing their workforce to achieve better services that meet local needs with fewer resources.

The Council’s submission highlighted a number of positive achievements over the past twelve months, including the success of the Cornwall Leadership Academy which has seen the Council working with other public sector organisations in Cornwall to offer joint training for their staff, the Council’s new Health and Wellbeing policy, which has significantly reduced sickness and absence levels across the authority, the redeployment and redundancy support programmes and the introduction of a new Talent Management Programme.

“The Council is the largest employer in Cornwall, and the second largest local authority in Britain” said Carolyn Rule, the Council’s portfolio holder for Heath and Wellbeing and Human Resources. “The creation of the unitary council from the seven former district and county councils, each of which had different working practices, at the same time as we faced significant cuts in our funding meant we needed to develop innovative plans to ensure our staff had the skills they needed to deliver high quality services to the people of Cornwall”.

News that NewquaySafe had won the Children’s Services Award has delighted Neil Burden, the Council’s portfolio holder for Children’s Services and members of the pioneering partnership. NewquaySafe, which was set up in 2009 after the tragic death of two young people, has transformed from a short term community safety initiative into a long term programme to regenerate Newquay and change the culture. It now includes 50 interdependent projects, many of which have a direct impact on the wellbeing of children and young people, whether visiting or living in the town.

“This is a great example of statutory organisations such as local authorities, the police and health working with the voluntary sector.” said Neil Burden. “I would particularly like to pay tribute to the work of the street pastors who have helped ensure that young people visiting Newquay keep safe”.

“This groundbreaking partnership has won a number of prestigious awards over the past two years" added Lance Kennedy, the Council’s portfolio holder for Community Safety and Public Protection. “The Council’s Localism team was the lead organisation for the project and responded to the initial concerns expressed by residents within ten days. his led to a launch of a national media campaign and the formation of the group that has gone on to provide the people of Newquay with a positive view of the future.”

The hard work of everyone involved in this project has made a huge difference to the lives of people in Newquay and to visitors and I know that many other areas of the country are looking to follow our example. We have been contacted and visited by police from Australia, Bulgaria and others looking at the results of this example of localism and partnership working. We are not complacent, however, and will continue to work for not only Newquay but other areas of Cornwall.”

Superintendent Julie Whitmarsh, from Devon and Cornwall police, said “This is a tremendous achievement which is a testament to the hard work of all the members of the partnership over the past two years. It is incredible what has been achieved over such a short period of time. For me personally, one of the most rewarding things has been the support we have received from Paddy Higgins father John throughout this period”.

John Higgins, the father of Paddy Higgins, one of the two young people who tragically died, said “It has been a privilege to work with such a determined, conscientious group of people, who have helped turn the death of my son into a meaningful initiative that has not only brought positive changes in Newquay and Cornwall, but also across the country."

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