GALLERY: Fenland District Council’s night of celebration to honour their staff

FROM refreshment assistants, to the street cleansing department, and from leisure to housing: it was a night when Fenland District Council rewarded its finest. The council s fourth annual awards for staff was a time of celebration and surprises as a tenth

FROM refreshment assistants, to the street cleansing department, and from leisure to housing: it was a night when Fenland District Council rewarded its finest.

The council's fourth annual awards for staff was a time of celebration and surprises as a tenth of the local authority's work force came together to hear which of those had triumphed.

All the short listed employees were present at the Oliver Cromwell Hotel, March, at a ceremony presided over chief executive Tim Pilsbury.

He introduced the nominees in each category, and introduced guest presenters who announced, Oscar style, the winners.


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Among those invited to present the awards were Nigel Smith from the Audit Commission, Joan Munro and Barbara Howarth from the Improvement and Development Agency and John Elworthy, Editor of the Cambs Times and Wisbech Standard."

Mr Pilsbury said the evening was a great opportunity to recognise the contribution, drive and dedication provided by the Fenland District Council team.

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He said the council had received national recognition for its achievements "beyond all expectations.

"Raising the council's profile nationally secured the confidence of key agencies, bringing to Fenland more than �40 million in external funding.

"We have delivered a programme of life changing initiatives across the district."

One of the main strengths of the council, he said, was its workers and "we have some of the best people in local government working for Fenland.

"Your collective skills, knowledge, experience and most importantly commitment to improvements are, in my view, second to none."

Fenland was a "100 per cent people driven "organisation and had delivered outstanding results".

He said all of those present were already winners "and there are many more in the organisation who are not here tonight but have met the challenge or gone more than the extra mile to deliver outstanding outcomes".

The winners were:

STAR OF FENLAND

Sue Harlock – Refreshment Assistant

Judges described her "cheerful, caring and friendly - nothing is too much trouble for Sue.

"She always has a quick word while providing our refreshments but is also discreet and almost invisible when things are going on in the office or someone is on the phone.

"The number of nominations that Sue received is a great example of how popular she is with her colleagues. No one can resist her charms, or her tea for that matter!

"When Sue briefly left, things just weren't the same, and staff was over the moon when she returned. Mat Taylor, our Finance Director, apparently thought about returning from the other side of the world when he heard that Sue was back at Fenland Hall!

"Sue is a great friend to many colleagues and a shining example of Fenland's fantastic culture.

(The Star of Fenland is an award made by the staff by majority vote).

EMPLOYEES OF THE YEAR

Julie Randall, Benefits Take-up Officer

Judges said that Julie "always jumps at the chance of improving the quality of life for Fenland residents. As our Benefits Take-up Officer, she supports some of the most vulnerable customers in our community by helping them to claim the benefits they are entitled to receive.

"Every person she helps benefits greatly, amounting to hundreds and in some cases thousands of pounds! It is money they didn't think they could get, or were just too proud to ask for. Julie not only represents excellent customer service but also a real focus on making people's lives better.

"She truly makes a difference to people who really need our help.

Hetty Thornton – Community Development Office

Hetty was absent and received her award in advance. Judges said she had helped to deliver a whole range of community events.

"There's no limit to Hetty's working capacity and her achievements include supporting the Youth District Council, managing the community grants process and of course delivering the fantastic Pride in Fenland Awards.

"Not content with her already very busy work schedule, Hetty also plays a key role in promoting and developing active play in some of Fenland's more deprived areas, through the Fenland Play Partnership.

"Last year, the partnership secured �200,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to develop play facilities and activities in the district.

"There can be no doubt that Hetty's drive and enthusiasm deliver outstanding outcomes for Fenland residents."

TEAM OF THE YEAR

The Street Cleansing Team

Judges said that we all hate to see litter and fly tipping strewn along roads and grass verges.

"But thanks to our Street Cleansing Team, it's not something that you see much of in Fenland any more.

"Our Street Cleansing Team works incredibly hard to keep measured levels of litter low across Fenland. They provide a seven day week service and in the past year have removed 700 instances of fly tipping with 543 being removed the next day.

"They have manually removed 10 tonnes of tyres and 180 tonnes of other waste, as well as installing litter bins and removing graffiti.

"Street cleansing is a top priority for the community and without such a dedicated team we would see a very different and dirty Fenland. This fantastic team is a credit to Fenland and a national role model."

GOING THE EXTRA MILE

The CSE Project Team

Judges said that Fenland "has gone where no council has gone before by achieving the Corporate Customer Service Excellence Accreditation. This truly is a groundbreaking stuff!

"Achieving CSE accreditation was a mammoth challenge involving lots of people and a great deal of work. Everyone is to be congratulated and should feel very proud of the outcome. However, a great deal of credit is due to the CSE Project Team, led by Keith Ashworth, who did a fantastic job in promoting the beneficial outcomes of CSE for our customers.

"Not only were we well within the scores, but our CSE Assessor Leon Winston described us as "positively unique"!

"CSE is more than just a gong. It is independent recognition that we are excellent in the way we deliver services to our customers."

MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Phil Hughes, Leisure Services Manager

Judges said "if only we all had Phil's enthusiasm for keeping fit and healthy! Not only does Phil lead by example, he is also determined reduce health inequalities for all Fenland residents by providing top-quality leisure and fitness facilities.

"His management style is upbeat, his motivation infectious and his ability to get things done unbelievable!

"Because of this, he has a fantastic team who share his aspirations.

Phil's approach to customer service is outstanding and he ensures the best possible outcome for the Fenland community. He sets an example for us all to aspire to and is often so busy he doesn't recognise how much he has achieved.

"It's therefore time we reminded him of just how good he is.

MEETING THE CHALLENGE

Pam Ashworth, NVQ Assessor

Judges said that we "all doubt our abilities once in a while, but it's a different story when Pam is around.

"Pam's spirit and enthusiasm is catching and she has a natural way of explaining things in a way that is easily understood. By boosting confidence and encouraging colleagues, Pam has driven up people's pursuit of learning and skills development.

"Since becoming our NVQ Assessor, Pam has worked tirelessly to support individuals who are working towards their NVQs. A speaker at a recent award presentation said that national average NVQ pass rates had been 'blown out of the water' by Fenland.

"Our success rate is an amazing 97 per cent. It's plain to see what Pam's give it a go attitude can achieve."

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE'S AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT

Dan Horn – Head of Housing and Neighbourhood Services

Tim Pilsbury's award is presented to the team or individual who has worked tirelessly to live the cultural aims of delivering high performance, adopting a one-team approach and walking towards problems.

Mr Pilsbury said: "Dan is someone who has and does 'live the dream'. He is someone who has mirrored the development of the council with his own.

"He demonstrates daily that he really cares about local people and that he is prepared to go more than the extra mile to improve people's lives.

"Last year, Dan was involved in a major project for the council which improved the position of thousands of local residents - the transfer of 4,000 homes to Roddons Housing Association. This year he has demonstrated an ability to shift focus and lead a new community team which marks an exciting shift for the council.

"Last year, one of our leading councillors said to me that Dan deserves recognition. This year, I'm pleased to give special recognition to Dan.

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