Nottingham City Council has been announced as a finalist in this year’s Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) Awards in the Council of the Year category.  This great achievement sits alongside the announcement that seven Nottingham City Council services and initiatives have made it to category finals for the APSE awards.

The awards are a valuable way for councils to celebrate achievements and best practice. Sharing success stories and experiences with other local authorities and organisations helps improve services for communities across the country.

Nottingham is shortlisted for the following awards:

Overall Council of the Year in Service Delivery – one of only seven councils to be put forward for this award.  This award recognises councils that have shown leadership and innovation in a variety of service areas.

Best Efficiency and Transformation Initiative – A ten-year transformation programme totalling £46.7million has replaced outdated leisure centres with eight modern and energy-efficient centres that are successfully inspiring more people to be more active, more often.

Best Public/Private Partnership Working Initiative – The ‘Field of Dreams’ project involved replacing a derelict sports pavilion on Victoria Embankment through a £750,000 partnership – which included over £300,000 generated through 60 businesses providing services, goods, manpower and resources for free or at/below cost. Partners include Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire Cricket Club, Trent Bridge Community Trust, Notts Cricket Board and the England and Wales Cricket Board.  It’s now an ECB national showcase project.

Best Renewable Energy or Energy Efficiency Initiative – Installing Solar Car Ports in Leisure Centre Car Parks.  The project has turned two car parks into a multi-functional space that provides free green electricity for leisure centres – reducing their carbon footprint and operational costs whilst contributing towards Nottingham’s ambition to increase the amount of renewable energy generated and used locally.  This green energy project shows that councils can be greener and cut costs at the same time.

Best Service Team: Parks, Grounds and Horticultural Service – Nottingham’s Parks and Open Spaces service has reduced spending and increased income through many successful grant applications and a range of commercial enterprises, including opening Woodthorpe Park Plant Shop and supplying plants to other councils. The team now brings in two thirds of the cost of the service, and it is on track to become self-funding by 2020.

Best Service Team: Cemetery and Crematorium Service – A five-year transformation programme has created an efficient cemetery service focused on the needs of all cultures and vastly improved environmental considerations.  Community involvement has helped create safe and pleasant sites for people and wildlife.  An innovative Public Health Funerals service is offered to neighbouring councils.

Best Service Team: Sports, Leisure and Cultural Service In 2015 the city gained iconic multi-million pound sport and leisure facilities, was named UNESCO City of Literature, provided a host of exciting, affordable or free events; made progress on restoring heritage sites, and improved local facilities. This was achieved through creative partnerships with the public and private sectors and commercial ventures, with massive community involvement.

Best Service Team: Waste Management and Recycling Service – Rather than providing traditional services, Nottingham City Council’s Waste Management and Recycling Service focuses on providing innovative and flexible services to meet the changing needs of citizens, the city and budgets.  The Team recognises that a “one size fits all‟ approach doesn’t always work so their flexibility and targeted work allows them to adapt to the challenges faced in different communities and with different groups of citizens, so they can meet citizens’ needs while reducing contamination and increasing recycling.

City Council Leader Councillor Jon Collins said “In times of constrained budgets I am delighted that Nottingham has been highlighted in these high profile awards as a provider of excellent services to local people.  Although local authorities are under lots of pressure to cut costs we are constantly looking for ways to streamline services without compromising on quality.

“These awards show that the council is an innovator in the public sector, tailoring solutions to meet changing needs while making services more cost-effective leading in terms of green energy production, providing modern leisure centres and a full offering of free and affordable city events for everyone to enjoy.  To be chosen as finalists in these awards is a great tribute to the hard work and dedication of our staff.”

The winners will be announced at the APSE conference and awards in Derry in September.

To find out more APSE Finalists