All hail the Council’s unsung heroes!
Published Monday 22nd October 12 in Council - news and information releases news
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council paid tribute to its unsung heroes at the annual STARS awards ceremony on Friday (19th October).
STARS is an opportunity for the authority - named 'Council of the Year 2012' by the Local Government Chronicle - to recognise the efforts of its most dedicated employees.
Funded by private sector sponsorship, the event is held to honour staff members who are deemed to have gone above and beyond the call of duty for local Council Tax payers.
The teams and individuals honoured at Friday night's ceremony were chosen from more than 450 nominations received from the public, business partners, Councillors and colleagues.
Chief Executive, Rob Tinlin, said: "These awards recognise the excellent work that is done day in, day out, by the individuals and teams of this Council.
"Due to the current financial situation these are not the easiest of times to sustain the delivery of the high quality services the residents of the town have come to expect.
"The STARS award winners have continued to deliver those services and give high quality customer care by going the extra mile for the people and businesses of Southend.
"It is their efforts which are helping us to achieve our goal of creating a better Southend, and led to us being recognised nationally as the LGC's 'Council of the Year' for 2012.
"We value and applaud their commitment, their ambition and their unstinting efforts in the most difficult of circumstances, and the positive impact this has had on our communities."
This year, for the first time in the history of STARS, an 'innovation' category was added to the event, which was once again held at the Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre.
It was won - in the face of stiff opposition - by the Pier Cultural Centre, which has proved a huge hit with residents and visitors to the town since it opened in May.
Mr Tinlin added: "So much of what this Council has achieved in recent years has been down to innovative thinking.
"Such trying economic circumstances call for people to think what has previously been unthinkable in order to achieve what we have set out to achieve.
"In that respect our staff have stepped up to the mark and delivered great things - the Pier Cultural Centre is a fine example which has brought a lasting legacy to Southend."
Introducing our STARS:
Winner of the Innovation Award, sponsored by Danfo UK Limited: The Pier Cultural Centre (Enterprise, Tourism & the Environment)
This partnership project between the Council, architects White Arkitector, design team Sprunts and contractors Kier involved the building of the 200-ton centre off-site in Tilbury before it was floated down the Thames by barge and lifted into place on the end of Pier by a specialist crane from Holland amid a blur of publicity from local, regional and national media outlets. It has already played host to a string of cultural events and been universally well received by residents and visitors alike.
The three other finalists were:
· The Really Smart Housing Project (Adult & Community Services) - a £1.2m match-funded project that will improve the energy efficiency of council-owned properties
· Laura Clarke (Children & Learning) - Laura has worked tirelessly over the last three years to maximise access for children, young people and families to a range of activities and opportunities through the Short Break Service
· Customer Service Triage (Support Services) - The Customer Service Centre managed to reduce direct customer contact by 35 per cent through the provision of self-service computer terminals in the Civic Centre.
Winner of the Mayor's Award, sponsored by Adventure Island: The Crematorium Team (Support Services)
This small team was recognised for the "consistent and overwhelmingly excellent" customer feedback it generated. One nomination said: "The gardens at this crematorium always look amazing. Everything is set out in such a splendid way, creating a wonderful atmosphere. The funeral services are excellent and the staff helpful and charming." Other comments in nominations included: "I have never met more kind, considerate and thoughtful people than the team at Southend Crematorium" and "Their high level of professionalism and dedication to those they serve and the companies they work with is second to none. When it comes to helping grieving families and the community no request is too big."
Winner of the Employee of the Year Award, sponsored by Winns Security Services: Sarah Baker (Group Manager - Adult & Community Services)
Sarah is in charge of the Council's £24million adult social care budget for older people and vulnerable adults. In 2010 she and her team identified ways to enable care home owners in Southend to reduce their prices by up to 5 per cent by making efficiencies, delivering savings in excess of £1million without compromising on the quality of the care provided. A number of other local authorities tried to deliver similar results but were thwarted by legal challenges. The Council successfully resisted a legal challenge due largely to the extensive planning and consultation Sarah and her team undertook with care home owners.
Winner of the Team of the Year Award, sponsored by London Southend Airport: Democratic Services Team (Support Services)
The Democratic Services Team works closely with all departments of the Council and its partners and provides invaluable support to councillors and members of the public. The team was honoured for once again delivering well administered and efficient Borough elections in 2012. A typical nomination read: "The Team has continued to draw on its skills, expertise and experience to achieve its goals and has again clearly demonstrated that it goes above and beyond what is expected." Another said: "The Democratic Services Team is well regarded, highly motivated and prides itself in offering a service of the highest standard."
Winner of the Safe Award, sponsored by Blake Contractors Limited: Thembekile Mguni (Social worker - Children & Learning)
Winner of the Clean Award, sponsored by Cory Environmental: Sheira Fox (Regulatory Services Officer - Enterprise, Tourism & the Environment)
Winner of the Healthy Award, sponsored by Adventure Island: Housing Options Team (Adult & Community Services)
Winner of the Prosperous Award, sponsored by London Southend Airport: Agata Mantaj (Parks Team - Adult & Community Services)
Winner of the Excellent Award, sponsored by Skanska: Magdalena Wach-Sowa (Contact Coordinator and Panel Support - Children & Learning)
Winner of the Customer Service (Customer Facing) Award, sponsored by Cory Environmental: Andrew Bazely (Mobile Library Manager - Adult & Community Services)
Winner of the Customer Service (Support) Award, sponsored by Environmental Applications Limited: Jim Gray (HR Business Support for Schools - Support Services)
Winner of the Community Cohesion Award, sponsored by Updata Infrastructure Limited: Chris Sollis (Community Projects and Volunteer Manager - Children & Learning)
Winner of the Partnership Award, sponsored by Pinnacle PSG Limited: Southend Adult Community College and the Integrated Youth Support Service (Children & Learning)
Winner of the Apprentice of the Year Award, sponsored by Updata Infrastructure Limited: Dan Cooper (Tickfield Centre Concierge - Support Services)
Winner of the Leadership Excellence Award, sponsored by Skanska: Lysanne Eddy (Group Manager for Policy & Partnerships - Support Services)