With Westminster politics in permanent Brexit turmoil, it may feel like there isn’t a lot to celebrate in the world of politics at the moment. Trust in our politicians is at an all-time low and there isn’t much to cheer about. However, one doesn’t need to look far to find some good news. Our locally elected councillors are often the ones who are quietly getting on with the job of keeping our communities running and improving the places where we live. There are hundreds of inspiring and often overlooked stories of success happening day in and day out across local government and they give us a huge amount to celebrate.
These are the stories we tell through LGiU’s Cllr Achievement Awards, celebrating councillors up and down the country who have gone above and beyond for their communities, so often without any recognition in return. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Awards (with our founding partners, specialist fund manager CCLA) and the goal has always been a simple one, to showcase the unsung heroes of local democracy.
Over the course of the last decade, we have been truly inspired by the calibre of the nominations we have received. Each year, hundreds of nominations flood through the doors of our offices. And, no one nomination is the same. They all tell the story of the hard work and dedication of councillors that so often goes unrecognised.
From the Young Councillor of the Year who became a mental health champion for her community, campaigning to ensure that vulnerable groups and individuals were safeguarded, to the Finance and Transformation Award winner whose work resulted in £115m savings for his council and a 50% increase in resident satisfaction. For many previous winners, the ‘Cllr’ accolade was just the beginning of their journey. One previous winner of the Digital Innovator Award went on to become chief digital officer for the Mayor of London.
We are proud of the Awards for being the only national awards to honour the work of local councillors.
Nominations for the 2019 Cllr Achievement Awards are now officially open until 6 September. Any member of the public who would like to honour a councillor in their area, doing outstanding work for their community, is invited to submit a nomination. Over the years, we have received entries from councillor colleagues, local MPs and residents. The shortlist is unveiled in October and the winners are then decided by a panel of judges and announced on the night of the Awards on 5 November.
Award categories for 2019 include Community Champion and Environment and Sustainability Pioneer alongside the coveted Leader of the Year and Young Councillor of the Year awards. And, although the categories may have changed name and shape over the years, the core objective has remained the same, to shine a light on the exceptional work of councillors.
It’s not the Oscars. But it is an important and essential staple in the local government diary. A moment for all of us to stop and reflect on our triumphs despite facing an increasingly challenging environment.
The challenges don’t stop here and we look forward to honouring those councillors that continue to rise to them this November. We look forward to receiving a record number of nominations again this year and continuing to showcase the important work of our councillors across England.
Dr Jonathan Carr-West is chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU)