North East Lincolnshire Council has been shortlisted for four Local Government Chronicle awards – some of the most prestigious awards achievable by local government authorities.
The council has been shortlisted for Digital Council of the Year, two of its services have been shortlisted in the Children’s Services and Public Health categories, and a regional partnership (of which the council is part) shortlisted for another award.
Over the last three years, the council has made substantial strides in delivering digital transformation and to recognise our progress has recently conducted a digital maturity assessment with digital experts, Futuregov. The Council has transformed the way in which customers access services and redesigned its website contributing to savings of more than £1.2m in the process. As a result of changes to how the council operates, residents are now benefitting from being able to make payments online, getting through to key services easily, more forms available to complete online and a new customer portal enables residents to track enquiries and actions in response to their requests.
The digital ambition is now continuing with investment in a digital team to drive and embed digital transformation enabled by technology and modern ways of working across the place to improve outcomes for residents and businesses.
In the Public Health category, the Council has been shortlisted for its work with other agencies to tackle rogue landlords in the area after launching Operation Trawl in 2016. As part of this, landlords have been fined for having faulty fire equipment on site, a haul of 27,000 illegal cigarettes was discovered, two companies have been taken to court for letting substandard properties and other prosecutions are in the pipeline. In addition, vulnerable people have been found living in potentially dangerous living conditions, which could have a serious impact on their health. As a result of this operation, some landlords have requested inspections to ensure they comply, and the council has been approached with details of other landlords which people want checking out.
Additionally, the council’s approach towards improving the outcome for children in North East Lincolnshire has been shortlisted. The Creating Strong Communities programme has seen impressive results. The service brings together tools such as Family Group Conferencing, Signs of Safety, Restorative Practice and Outcome Based Accountability to transform the lives of children and young people and their families and communities across the region. The success of the changes has been recognised by Government and the service has recently been rated good by Ofsted – only the fourth deprived area to achieve this.
And finally, a regional partnership focussing on the promotion and development of children’s social work of which North East Lincolnshire is part has also been nominated for another award.
According to the LGC, nearly 100 organisations have been shortlisted as finalists in the coveted awards. “The high quality of this year’s entries demonstrates local government’s enthusiasm to innovate in an era in which councils’ budgets have been cut. The awards seek to identify and recognise local government’s greatest innovators, whose achievements are often under reported. With budgets at the forefront of priorities, it is even more important this year to shine a spotlight on the achievements of those councils whose pioneering best practice can inspire other councils to improve services.”
“This is fantastic news for North East Lincolnshire, showcasing the transformation our digital first programme is doing alongside the excellent work we do with our partners across the borough,” said Cllr Ray Oxby, Leader of the Council. “At a time when local government is having to change what it does and how it delivers services, to be recognised nationally for our work really does show that we’re going in the right direction.”
And Chief Executive Rob Walsh added: “This is brilliant for NELC and underlines the value of innovation within the local authority. It is a testament to the focus that the Council and its partners have placed on working together to make a positive difference to the lives and experiences of our residents and businesses. I’m particularly pleased for all those staff involved, not only within the Council, but our partners as well, whose work has been recognised in this way.’’
LGC editor Nick Golding said: “To be shortlisted for an LGC Award shows a council service is among the country’s most innovative, and doing the most to support the needs of local residents as councils face continuing budget cuts. We should salute the council officers and councillors doing the most to ensure our vital public services thrive in the era of austerity.”
The shortlisted entries must now present their entry to a panel of judges in London in January, before the award winners are announced in March.
The full list of finalists can be found at awards.lgcplus.com