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Excellence in eight Scottish councils has been rewarded in the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities' Excellence...
Excellence in eight Scottish councils has been rewarded in the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities' Excellence Awards 2004, which recognise outstanding quality of service to the public by councils across Scotland.

Stirling and South Lanarkshire with one each and West Lothian, with three successes, took first place in the five main categories of the awards.

Best Team award went to Glasgow Council, the Chair's Award went to Scottish Borders Council whilst a partnership project involving North, East and South Ayrshire councils' scooped the Scottish Executive's Delivering Excellence Award.

COSLA vice president Corrie McChord, who chaired the judging panel, described the entries for the awards this year as quite exceptional.

'The COSLA Excellence Awards are the Scottish local government Oscars and year on year they live up to this billing, with the standard of entries going from strength to strength.

'Scotland's councils never fail to impress the judging panel with their enthusiasm, passion and commitment.

'The standard of entries we get for these awards illustrate vividly the first class services being delivered for the benefit of communities the length and breadth of Scotland and I, as vice president of COSLA, am proud that we, as an organisation, recognise such excellence.'

Mr McChord concluded: 'What is also pleasing is that year on year we are seeing even more innovative and exciting projects designed to meet specific needs. This proves that local government does not just deliver the everyday services that we all take for granted but that it provides imaginative solutions to complex situations throughout the year.'

The COSLA Excellence Awards 2004 are sponsored by:

* ScottishPower

* The Scottish Executive

* Fujitsu

This year the awards attracted over 140 entries from councils throughout Scotland in five categories.

The table of category winners and their projects is available here.

A press release from the Scottish Executive follows:

Deputy public services minister Tavish Scott congratulated the winners and shortlisted finalists at a ceremony last night.

For the third year, the Executive sponsored the 'Delivering Excellence' award, which was won by North, East and South Ayrshire Councils for the Fit Ayrshire Babies project.

Fit Ayrshire Babies is a collaborative project which enables children, parents and carers to have increased opportunities to engage in and be aware of the benefits and importance of physical play, physical exercise and social interaction within a culture of enthusiasm, enjoyment and fun.

This is achieved by using and adding to the principles of the play@home exercise programme used successfully in Fife and adapted from Kiwi Babies in New Zealand.

Mr Scott said:

'These projects are good examples of joined-up working. That is an approach which puts the citizen first. I would like to encourage local government to continue to work in partnership with local people to deliver more responsive public services.

'We need to learn from each other. We must take the good practice stories from your projects and share them with all 32 local authorities, and across the wider public sector in Scotland.

'As you know, the Scottish Executive is working in partnership with COSLA and SOLACE to develop the Improvement Service. This is a very exciting and challenging new service and I very much look forward to all local authorities playing an active role with the Improvement Service. I include both elected members and officers in this challenge.

'This is the third year that the Executive has sponsored the Delivering Excellence award and the Fit Ayrshire Babies project is another perfect example of the kind of project this award was intended to acknowledge. It shows how local authorities can work together to the benefit of the people of their local communities.'

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