Published: Wednesday, 26th April 2017
The winning streak for Sevenoaks District Council continued at the Public Finance Innovation Awards after it picked up two trophies at a ceremony on 20 April.
The Council was crowned ‘Public Finance Innovator of the Year’ and then went on to pick up the ‘Grand Prix’ award.
This comes after a number of recent successes for the Council after being named as the Council of the Year at the Local Government Chronicle Awards in March and also scooping the top spots in the Finance and the ‘Overall Winner’ categories at the Guardian Public Service Awards in November.
The trophy cabinet is also packed out with two further awards for Commercialism in Property Estate and Innovation in Finance from the Municipal Journal awards in June.
At this most recent ceremony in London, the Council was celebrated for achieving financial self-sufficiency, which is supported by a bold property investment strategy, delivering significant revenue returns to the Council.
The Council has so far purchased a petrol station, office and retail space, a convenience store and a former Working Men’s Club.
It has just completed the building of a multi-decked car park and is currently building a hotel.
This new source of income comes at a time when the Council will no longer receive any direct government funding.
A panel of expert judges praised the Council for its ‘impressive’ financial autonomy as they fought off organisations representing all parts of the public sector and all four nations of the UK.
Upon receiving both awards, the judges also commended the ‘risk appetite and culture of the organisation’.
Dr Pav Ramewal, Chief Executive, says: “It was a fantastic honour to be shortlisted in these awards along with so many high achieving organisations. To be announced as the Innovator of the Year and the Grand Prix Award winner was a really special moment for everyone associated with the Council.
“Back in 2013, our Councillors took a brave decision to work towards financial self sufficiency knowing full well our support from Government was set to dry up. The Council was determined to ensure we did everything in our power to protect the services we provide to our residents, acknowledging that we needed to take greater risks and give our staff the freedom to innovate and go where no council had gone before.
“Just three years later we became the first local authority to set a budget free from central government support and financially self-sufficient. Being recognised by CIPFA with these awards is a testament to the work of our Councillors and staff who delivered this incredible achievement.”