Council nets two more awards

PUBLISHED: 16:02 09 November 2007 | UPDATED: 23:08 28 May 2010

From left: Cllr Mac Cotterell, Cllr Steve Garratt and Cllr Ken Mayer

From left: Cllr Mac Cotterell, Cllr Steve Garratt and Cllr Ken Mayer

FENLAND Council continues to win national awards for innovative schemes. The latest two, in the last week, take the number of awards and commendations to more than 30. The Golden Age Fairs Team collected a national Regional Monitor Excellence Award for th

FENLAND Council continues to win national awards for innovative schemes.

The latest two, in the last week, take the number of awards and commendations to more than 30.

The Golden Age Fairs Team collected a national Regional Monitor Excellence Award for the Best Older People's Initiative of the Year and the council was presented with Pay Magazine's Best Reward Programme Award in recognition of the authority's successful staff awards scheme.

The Regional Monitor Excellence Awards showcase and celebrate the best practice and innovation across the UK and Fenland's Golden Age Fairs proved to be a hit with the judges.

Almost 25 per cent of Fenland residents are over the age of 60 and many live in rural isolation; so getting access to information about benefits and support services is difficult.

The Golden Age Fairs have proved to be a hugely popular mechanism for working with more than 30 relevant partners to take support and advice out into the communities for older people to access.

So far, since 2003, the council has hosted 10 Golden Age Fairs and each has attracted up to 400 people, with a customer satisfaction at 94 per cent.

Councillor Mac Cotterell, portfolio holder with responsibility for older people, said: "This award is a real feather in our cap. Again Fenland is leading the way nationally when it comes to meeting the needs of local people."

Fenland was also a finalist in the Regional Monitor Excellence Awards category for the Best Education Initiative of the Year. The nomination was for the Fenland Youth Council, which has given a voice to every young person in Fenland.

What impressed judges was the success of the Youth Council in addressing and resolving issues of concern to young people. For instance, the Youth Council highlighted the difficulties young people have using council-run leisure facilities because they were excluded at peak periods. The three leisure centres responded by altering opening times for young people and, as a result, gym usage by young people has rocketed by 65 per cent.

Councillor Steve Garratt, portfolio holder for young people and leisure, said: "Young people are the future of Fenland and it is important that their voice is heard. We listened to what they had to say and it made very good sense; so we changed the leisure centre opening times.

"Young people have also had a full debate on the Corporate Plan and their input has been invaluable. This was democracy in action and I'm delighted it has been recognised nationally."

The Pay Magazine award recognised the way Fenland celebrated staff achievements with an impressive awards event, which is a culmination of the recognition that the council is 100 per cent people driven.

The staff awards played an important role in motivating and rewarding staff. As a result, the council is now officially acknowledged by the Audit Commission as an 'excellent' authority and the most recent staff survey showed 83 per cent of staff felt proud of working for Fenland, up from 77 per cent the year before.

The staff survey also showed that 94 per cent of staff had a good relationship with their managers, compared with 89 per cent the previous year and that nearly 80 percent of staff find their working environment pleasant and agreeable - a huge improvement from the previous figure of 61 per cent.

Councillor Ken Mayor, portfolio holder for quality organisation, said: "Our greatest asset is our staff and by recognising and rewarding hard work and success, we are helping to create a can-do culture, which in turn leads to improved services. I am delighted that the council's recognition of its staff has itself been recognised nationally.

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