Nottingham City Council has been honoured with 3 prestigious national awards for its innovative work to drive up standards.
Frontline services, business support and a campaign to improve school attendance were all praised at the MJ Local Government Achievement Awards ceremony in London on Thursday 18 June.
The awards were for:
- Best Council Service Team
- Delivering Better Outcomes
- Children’s Services
Best Council Service Team
Nottingham City Council’s high profile frontline Neighbourhood Services won the prestigious Best Council Service Team category for innovation in the face of decreasing budgets.
The submission focussed on Nottingham winning the CIWM Cleanest City in Britain award, its Commercialism Strategy which seeks to maximise income to the authority to protect high-profile frontline services, its innovative Energy Strategy and increasing Citizen Satisfaction.
Nottingham City Council was praised for embracing the commercialisation challenge, making an improvement on net costs of its service, while also making significant improvements to services.
Cllr Nicola Heaton, Portfolio Holder for Community Services at Nottingham City Council, said: “It is fantastic that the hard work of everyone at the Council has been acknowledged by the MJ Awards. Despite budget shortfalls, we have worked hard to maintain and improve service quality and this is embedded in the ethos of our service, from our frontline staff to our leadership team. We believe by bringing frontline services together we can create an offer that maintains service quality against a background of budgets cuts. Commercialism is our key response to the budget challenge and through our agenda we are protecting and improving our front line services and increasing citizen satisfaction.”
Best Children’s Services Award
Nottingham City Council’s Business Support Team was praised in the Best Children’s Service category for its innovative corporate business support operating model with councils including Sheffield, Southampton and Milton Keynes all having used this model when designing their own business support services and its work to provide employment opportunities for young people leaving care.
The team created a self funding apprenticeship scheme for care leavers through commercial opportunities whilst boosting employment in the local community and supporting local SME’s.
Care leavers are given ongoing support throughout their apprenticeship which increases their confidence and leads to formal qualifications. To date all of the care leavers have secured permanent employment at the end of their apprenticeships.
Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said: “I’m delighted that our work to support young people leaving care has been recognised on this national stage. This project is an excellent example of the council working to provide employment opportunities for our children leaving care. It is a first step into the world of work that provides vital training, skills, experience and qualifications”.
Delivering Better Outcomes Award
Nottingham City Council’s campaign to boost school attendance by offering pupils the chance to go to an exclusive pop concert was winner in the Delivering Better Outcomes category.
The campaign, which ran over the Autumn 2014 term in secondary schools in the City with Capital FM, added an additional 5,661 school days and saw attendance increase by an average of 2%. It was the winner in the ‘Delivering Better Outcomes’ category.
Cllr Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Schools in Nottingham said: “I’m delighted that our decision to do something different to tackle attendance in Nottingham has been recognised on a national stage. This award is a testament to the strong stance Nottingham is taking to improve school attendance. Over the Autumn 2014 term we have been recognised by the Department for Education as the most improved local authority in the country for attendance.”
Classes with the best overall attendance from six schools watched a special VIP performance by pop group Neon Jungle at the Glee Club in Nottingham on 15 January. Fronted by Neon Jungle and Capital FM Breakfast Show presenters Dino and Pete, the campaign urged pupils to ‘Get In:volved to Get the Gig’. It included presentations in the schools, a special video, website and radio adverts, as well as launch assemblies for pupils with Dino and Pete.
Whole classes were encouraged to work together to improve their collective attendance.