'˜Too often the dedication of those working on frontline services goes unnoticed'
The unsung heroes of frontline service provision in communities across Northern Ireland have been celebrated at a gala event in Armagh.
Councils throughout the province were represented as the nine award category winners of the 2018 Local Government Awards were announced. Hosted by TV presenter Sarah Travers at the Armagh City Hotel, the awards, co-ordinated by the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) and the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE), attracted an unprecedented 78 entries.
Speaking at the event, Councillor Dermot Curran, NILGA president, said: “We’re almost a full electoral term on from the big changes to local government. A huge amount of hard work and vision has gone into modernising councils for local communities, businesses and visitors – as well as meeting needs of wider government and civic society.
“As community impact grows and performance improves right across our 11 councils, these awards are testimony to how local government is truly at the hub of developing locally designed solutions to local need, as well as planning for a sustainable future. They also provide fantastic learning tools for councils, in an environment where every penny counts.
“We can do things better by learning from the best. Excellence and efficiency are things that NILGA is passionate about, and it is reflected in our ambitious councils who are celebrating strong public services delivered through local people tonight”.
The awards showcased brilliance in service provision, new initiatives and the personal commitment from councils, councillors, staff and partners.
Paul O’Brien, APSE chief Executive,said: “Too often the creativity and dedication shown by those who work in frontline services goes unnoticed. This is why these awards are so important. They are a fitting tribute to the resilience and inventiveness of council staff across Northern Ireland who continue to work tirelessly to deliver first-rate services; going the extra mile to add real value to communities.
“Alongside NILGA, APSE understand that local councils are key to creating a better, more prosperous Northern Ireland. As these awards demonstrate, there is no lack of challenge and no poverty of ambition among local authorities.”
The awards cover nine categories and sponsor partners / support bodies contributing are: Association for Public Service Excellence; William Johnston Memorial Trust; Enterprise Northern Ireland; Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers; Northern Ireland Local Government Association; National Association of Councillors; Sustainable NI; Quarry Products Association and Tourism NI.
Nominees were judged by an independent panel, the winners in each category were announced at the Gala Awards Recognition Evening which followed the NILGA’s annual conference, ‘Building Sustainable Communities, Delivering a Better Northern Ireland for Everyone’.
Winner were as follows:
Best Local Authority Service Team (sponsored by APSE), Mid and East Antrim Waste Team, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council.
Employee of the Year (sponsored by the William Johnston Memorial Trust), Deynah Doherty, Council Choir, Derry City and Strabane District Council
Best Enterprise Initiative by a Council (sponsored by Enterprise Northern Ireland), Project - Mid Ulster Skills Forum, Mid Ulster District Council.
Best Local Authority Community Planning Initiative (sponsored by the Northern Ireland Branch of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers), MUDC Community Planning Partnership, Mid Ulster District Council.
Best Local Authority Elected Member Development Initiative (sponsored by NILGA), Member Development - A Key Driver in Corporate Performance, Derry City and Strabane District Council.
Best Initiative by a Councillor/Councillor Group (sponsored by the National Association of Councillors), Councillor Julie Flaherty, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
Best Local Authority Tourism Initiative (sponsored by Tourism Northern Ireland), Belfast Waterfront, Belfast City Council.
Excellence in Environmental Sustainability by a Local Authority (sponsored by Sustainable NI) Environmental Stewardship, Derry City and Strabane District Council.
Best Local Authority Design & Build Capital Project (sponsored by Quarry Products Association NI) Newry Leisure Centre Michael Lipsett, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.