Published: Friday, 10th March 2017
Sevenoaks District Council has fought off competition from some of the biggest councils in the country to lift the prestigious Council of the Year trophy at the 2017 Local Government Chronicle Awards.
At a ceremony, hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald, in London on 8 March, the Council was celebrated for achieving financial self-sufficiency, changing cultures and doing things differently.
The Council has so far purchased a petrol station, office space, convenience store and a former Working Men’s Club and car park, and are currently developing its own hotel.
This new source of income comes at a time when the Council will no longer receive any direct government funding.
The Council were recognised for their unique approach to cultural transformation in their workforce, instilling a ‘no blame’ culture and encouraging staff to take risks and be innovative alongside their dedication to customer service.
The Council remains dedicated to providing services which make a difference in the District such as the weekly rubbish and recycling collections, the unique HERO service which supports some of the most vulnerable people in the community and its expanding partnership working with other councils.
This victory is the latest in a number of recent successes for the Council after scooping the top spots in the Finance and the ‘Overall Winner’ categories at the Guardian Public Service Awards in November, as well as two further awards for Commercialism in Property Estate and Innovation in Finance at a national awards ceremony in June.
Council Leader, Cllr Peter Fleming, said: “To win such a prestigious award is a very proud moment for the whole Sevenoaks District Council team, both councillors and officers. It is also an enormous honour as it represents the hard work and difficult decisions we have been making for many years.
“Being one of only two district councils on the shortlist and up against some excellent London Boroughs, County and City councils from across the country, to come out the winner shows our strength and success as a council.
“Whilst awards are obviously nice to win and great in terms of recognition of the work we have done, they can only ever be a pause, we have to continue to innovate, improve and move forward in delivering absolutely the best possible services to the districts residents both now and into the future.”
Andrew Jepp, Managing Director of Zurich Municipal, who was on the judge’s panel for the awards, said: “Sevenoaks District Council are a radical, hugely impressive organisational development. They showed entrepreneurship with civic purpose and their strong contra transformation around customers felt real to the judges, and they have a focussed long term vision.”