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Team of the year

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Aylesbury Vale DC

Collection crews

Aylesbury Vale’s 107-strong recycling and waste collection team services 78,000 households in 21 domestic crews, with loaders walking an average 17 miles a day. Rounds they had known for years changed in 2016-17 when split collections were replaced by recyclables collected one week and refuse the next. Despite this disruption, crew members were hard-working, supportive and ensured customer service remained excellent. The year has also seen just 27 accidents, a decrease of 39.71% since 2010.


Barnet LBC

Transforming planning

Barnet has England’s sixth busiest planning department, run in a joint venture with Capita, processing more than 8,000 applications a year and investigating some 1,600 potential planning breaches. Against challenging financial conditions, it has introduced initiatives while maintaining an efficient, duty planner service. There are bi-annual forums with planning agents, giving applicants the chance to discuss policy changes and provide feedback. High user satisfaction has seen Barnet become the supplier of planning services to Greenwich and Windsor & Maidenhead RBCs and the fast-track planning service has generated £250,000 in new revenue.


Barnsley MBC

Code Green

Code Green is self-funded, revenue generating commercial entity providing services to schools, academies and smaller businesses. It works in partnership with other council business units to identify key partners, activities, costs, relationships and revenue streams to support them to streamline processes, better understand their financial position and look to identify new ways to generate revenue. Customers are drawn from across northern England. Code Green offers money-back guarantees for customers and has provide services above and beyond those contracted when needed, such as additional IT support for schools during Ofsted inspections. There are four apprentices among the 30-strong team.


Essex CC

Essex Social Care Academy

The Essex Social Care Academy was established in 2012 and is considered by many ‘the engine which drives the service’. Its 14 staff work in children and families social care, led by principal social worker Paul McGee, and bring varied experience and expertise. They are the team that organises and advocates continuing professional development for social workers, foster carers and partnership agencies, and have established an annual organisational health check, where staff views are sought on social work practice.


Luton BC

Integrated discharge team

This is a 100-strong team of social workers, discharge managers, liaison sisters and administrators, all located in the discharge hub at Luton and Dunstable Hospital. They ensure safe and timely discharges from hospital, and integrated operations manager Marilyn George manages the work of both council and NHS staff. In 2016, the number of delayed transfers of care attributable to council social care was 40% of the English average and the council was in November that year ranked first for low delayed transfers. Many other councils and trusts have visited to learn from its work.


Pembrokeshire CC

First Contact Team

The 11-strong team forms the intake for adult services, with referrals numbering 6,234 for 2016-17. In mid-2016, the intake process was not fit for purpose and waiting lists peaked at 200 service users waiting up to 210 days, placing additional strain on other services. The team embarked on ‘cleansing days’ when the waiting list was halved and it was recognised that customer experience would be vastly improved by ensuring assessment-led, person-centred practice. Waiting lists are managed to ensure users are contacted within 48 hours and the waiting list is now usually fewer than 15 people.


Stevenage BC

Play Champions

The play team provides free open access play for children aged 5 to 14 through three neighbourhood play centres. Stevenage’s play strategy calls for all children to have the right to play, and to ensure play spaces are designed to meet children’s needs. The team includes more than 40 casual play workers and its users are often the borough’s most vulnerable residents. It has achieved a ‘good’ rating from Ofsted. During 2016-17, the team kept the play centres open for 51 weeks and provided 1,132 supervised play sessions.


Thanet DC

Housing team

The team works to ensure that the district’s most vulnerable people have housing options that meet their needs and to improve conditions in the private rented sector. It has successfully bid to the rogue landlord fund for £88,000 for a 10-week crackdown in Margate on substandard properties, which led to 370 inspections and 434 breach of licence warnings. A bid to the controlling migration fund brought £557,000 to improve housing conditions, carry out enforcement and inspections and provide English language support. In a first for Kent, owner occupier loans are offered of up to £20,000 to bring empty properties back into use.


Tower Hamlets LBC

Substance Misuse Service

The service comprises a drug and alcohol action team responsible for policies to minimise harm associated with substance misuse, while the drug intervention programme is a frontline organisation embedded throughout criminal justice services to work with individuals whose criminal or anti-social behaviour is related to their drug or alcohol use. Its work significantly impacts on broader community safety and so provides a service indirectly for most of the borough’s residents. In 2016-17, its achievements included having the highest number of individuals engaged in treatment in London, at 2,115.


Vale of Glamorgan Council

Barry Island Resort Team

Barry Island has experienced a resurgence with millions of pounds of regeneration investment driving increased visitor numbers. The transformation has been helped by a full season of events, facilitated and organised by the council to add vibrancy and interest to the island. An integrated team has broken down professional silos to make this work. In 2016, some 388,000 visitors came, contributing £13.9m to the local economy. The island has green flag status and holds two blue flags.Whitmore Bay and Jacksons Bay beaches.



Simon Edwards, chief executive, County Councils Network

Sal Khan, chief executive, East Staffordshire BC

Graeme McDonald, managing director, Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers

Rachael Shimmin, chief executive, Buckinghamshire CC

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