Copeland boasts England's deepest lake, highest mountain and smallest church. It can also boast some fairly serious problems: widespread unemployment as well as a general lack of employment opportunities, and poor infrastructure.
Copeland's core values include clear vision, innovation, investment in staff, fair and equal treatment and high standards. Its long-term strategies include teamwork, best value and value for money.
These values have underpinned the rise of Commercial & Contracting Services from near extinction because of the imposition of a s19B notice to producer of high quality, value for money services.
The Council Services Department puts users first. We understand our customer base and try to provide the service they want rather than impose standards.
Despite operating within strict financial targets we continue to improve the service provided. We are constantly looking to obtain value for money.
We have received ISO EN 9002 accreditation for quality assurance for many of our services. The department is subject to performance reviews from within and by the council's management team as well as by the district auditor and external assessors. Surveys monitor user satisfaction.
We are responsible for the promotion of environmental issues and we practice what we preach. Our green waste initiative, covering more than 5,000 properties, has achieved a recycling rate of 50%.
Kingston upon Hull
Our mission over the next five years is to raise the profile and status of the city locally and nationally and for the council to be recognised as the community leader, an innovator and a provider of first class value for money services while acting as an employer who values and seeks to maximise the potential of staff.
Hull City Services' mission statement reads: A customer first local authority contractor whose mission is to compete for, win and successfully operate contracts while delivering a high quality service and following good employer practices.
There is a major focus on quality and training initiatives, and the department won 18 key contracts retendered during the year.
Southwark Direct and Southwark Internal Services (SDSIS) is a diverse collection of contract-driven business units competing for work with the private sector.
Its objectives are to win and retain contracts, satisfy customers, provide value for money, employ, motivate and develop local people, enhance the environment and contribute to the local community. SDSIS met and surpassed its objectives for 1998.
Its focus is on customer service, with the aim of becoming the first choice for clients and customers. All business units strive to go beyond basic service provision to provide an excellent service and are encouraged to be innovative in their approach.
Customers and clients are consulted and canvassed for their views on service provision. Survey trends show marked improvements.
SDSIS is at the forefront of the council's drive to improve the local environment, and has a long history of working with local community groups, charities and events.
Services are enhanced through the use of the latest technology and management techniques, while a self-assessment system has been established based on total quality management principles.
City of York
The contracting arm of City of York Council is a commercial services department which employs more than 700 people and has an annual turnover close to£20 million. The department incorporates 10 individual trading units.
The leisure direct service organisation is known as Total Leisure Management, and employs 100 full-time and part-time staff.
TLM was successful in retaining the leisure management contract in June 1997 in the face of stiff private sector competition. The result was a significant reduction in the management fee received. A concentrated effort had to be made to refocus on new programmes, facilitating greater staff development opportunities, that would enable TLM to create a culture of empowerment and make services more direct to the customer.
Award sponsor - Hays Montrose
'DSOs are very much the interface with the end-user. Clearly best value, which measures the feedback and involvement of these clients, is going to have a dramatic impact on how services are delivered.
Adding a further 'customer services' perspective to the pressures of CCT experienced over the past decade creates a 'whole picture' challenge for the management and staff of the service providers.
Hays Montrose is proud to be associated with these best practice awards that highlight and publicise what is required from a modern DSO. Benchmarking, staff morale, attendance and equal opportunities are all crucial issues at the moment. Doing this with a volatile workload is no easy task.
Hays Montrose works in partnership with its DSO clients to predict resource needs and gear up their staffing levels to cope
with the peak loads. By everyone working together the ultimate flexible workforce of motivated and happy individuals can be a reality.
Hays Montrose provides this service to more than 200 public sector clients from a network of 28 offices across the UK.
For information on your nearest Hays Montrose office please call our customer services Freefone line 0800 716026.'
Robert Smith, managing director, Hays Montrose.