I was invited recently to an awards dinner sponsored by Improvement and Efficiency South East, a small group of procurement and business professionals based at Tandridge District Council in Surrey, who by facilitating joint working and better business practises helped local authorities make savings of over £18m in their first year, and over £40m in their second year of operation.
The evening, held at Dean’s Yard in Westminster was a great opportunity to catch up with both elected member and officer colleagues from local councils all over the region. Everyone I spoke to was apprehensive as to whether their organisation might win an award among categories such as “Progress Through Innovation”, “Police Service of the Year” and “People Management”.
I was particularly pleased to see that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council was awarded “Council of the Year” for their transformational progress from a ‘Weak’ authority to ‘Excellent’ under the guidance of Chief Executive Sheila Wheeler and Leader, Councillor Roy Bullock.
But I was amazed when, against a strong field of contenders doing marvellous work in their local communities, I was awarded the ‘Local Hero 2010’ award, “…for the work of an individual in local government that has delivered an outstanding contribution to the community”.
I’m told that the nomination came from Pembury – whoever put me up for this, I thank you. I love my job as a local councillor representing the people of Pembury, Sherwood and St James’ wards, but to get this kind of recognition really is the icing on the cake!