Nottingham City Council is in the running to be named the best local authority in the UK.

It has been shortlisted for The Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) Service Awards 2020 Overall Council of the Year in Service Delivery. This is in addition to six further nominations for specific areas of the authority’s work.

A total of 24 councils were put forward for consideration and, after analysing all submissions, APSE have named Nottingham City alongside Aberdeen City Council, Cambridge City Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council and Swansea Council for the top prize.

APSE stages its annual awards to showcase and recognise the very best in local government frontline services across the UK. This year, frontline workers have been in the spotlight as they kept vital services running during the coronavirus pandemic.

The City Council’s staff have been no exception, with everyone from bin crews to carers, street cleaners to community protection officers applauded by the communities they serve for their efforts in very difficult circumstances.

Now, as well as the top award, six more services have also been shortlisted for the prestigious APSE Awards:

Best Service Team: Street Cleansing and Streetscene Service (Public Realm)

Adopting a ‘see it, deal with it’ approach, this team is at the forefront of one of the council’s top priorities – to become England’s cleanest big city, with neighbourhoods just as clean as the city centre. Working closely with local partners and communities, the team has 20 new leaders who are  hands-on, out with crews driving productivity and efficiency.

Best Service Team: Parks, Grounds & Horticultural Service

This team leads the council’s ambitions for the cleanliness and environmental upkeep of the city’s parks and urban spaces. The team engages closely with partners and volunteers from local communities and is highly effective at attracting new funding to bring further improvements to the city’s much-loved open spaces. Innovative new projects have captured the imagination of the city and gained considerable support.

Best Service Team: Cemetery and Crematorium Service

This team provides cremations, burials, administration, grounds maintenance and commercial activity. The Nottingham Funeral provides local citizens with a fair priced funeral option. Thousands more burial spaces have been created and more volunteers have been recruited for projects. The service is constantly reviewed to ensure professional, cost-effective provision while offering choice; investing in staff development; welcoming innovation; meeting the highest environmental standards and succeeding commercially.

Best Climate Action Initiative

Nottingham City Council is an ambitious, forward-thinking authority aiming to become the UK’s first carbon neutral city by 2028. The actions taken so far have made a real difference to people’s homes, businesses, transport and to the way the Council operates, reducing the City’s carbon emissions by 41% (49% per person). There is more to do and our ambitious Carbon Neutral Charter and Action Plan launched this year will see the council lead the way in tackling the climate emergency.

Best Commercialisation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Nottingham City Council is the only local authority in the UK to have implemented a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL). Nottingham’s WPL scheme has successfully tackled traffic congestion and generated substantial revenue which is ring-fenced to fund major transport infrastructure initiatives. The council’s unique experience and expertise is now being used to support other local authorities to introduce tailor-made WPL schemes of their own, creating a network of schemes which will have a significant impact on public transport and air quality.

Best Service Team – Transport & Fleet Maintenance Service

The council’s Passenger Transport service has gone from a position where outsourcing was considered to one of the cheapest providers of adult and SEN transport in the country. Alongside these changes, customer service has been improved and five of the first fully-electric minibuses in the UK have been introduced. An efficient, high-quality, low-emission service is provided and, despite continued challenges within the social care sector, the council is committed to providing an exemplary service which meets the customers’ needs.

Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “Our staff have worked extremely hard for the people of Nottingham this year throughout a global pandemic, in partnership with colleagues across other public-sector organisations.

“We’re delighted that this effort and local leadership has been recognised with a nomination for best council in the UK. We’re especially proud this year to have been shortlisted in six more categories of the APSE awards, which recognise the best frontline services in the country.

“I would like to thank these teams for their exemplary efforts and for all our frontline staff who have shown so magnificently throughout the pandemic how dedicated they are to providing the best possible service to the people of Nottingham.”

Mel Barrett, Chief Executive of Nottingham City Council, said: “When I joined the council in September of this year, one of the first things I did was speak with senior officers and spend time on the frontline with a number of our teams. It was abundantly clear to me that we have a dedicated and hard-working workforce, who are passionate about making a positive difference.

“We have a large proportion of staff who were born and raised in Nottingham and the city means a great deal to them – this is reflected in their work. They are proud of Nottingham and care deeply about their fellow residents, so when the pandemic struck they really stepped up.

“I am also proud of the efforts they continue to show across the many council services we provide, and I am delighted that we have been nominated for these awards in recognition of that.”