Leeds City Council has been named as ‘Local Authority of the Year’` by the respected local government publication Municipal Journal .
Leeds also came out top for Innovation and Impact in its children’s services, and were joint winners of the award for Commercialism in Property Estate – where judges singled out Leeds’ council’s commitment to ‘not only deliver landmark developments’, but also ‘focus on the little things that matter to the local community’.
We’ve reported before on Leeds Labour Council’s achievements in Children’s services. So it was perhaps no surprise to hear the judges praise its ‘strategic, intelligence-driven approach to supporting children and young people’, delivered with a ‘strong unity of purpose’. This wide-ranging work had had impressive results – ‘less children in care, better school attendance and more young people in education, employment and training’ in Leeds.
But the top Local Authority award was especially gratifying. The judges here were looking for success right across the organization – and for real evidence that the authority was excelling across the board in its major services, that it was innovative, and that it had ‘risen to the financial challenges the present themselves as a result of continuing reductions in budget’. Leeds has certainly seen those reductions! The judges praised the Council’s ‘consistent and dynamic leadership’ with ‘a clear improvement vision’ especially in regeneration and health inequalities.
It’s a huge tribute to the work of the Labour Council and all its employees that they have proved that – even in tight times – they can deliver the best for the people of our great city.
As Judith Blake, Labour leader of Leeds City Council, commented:
“We are of very proud to be named by the Municipal Journal as the Local Authority of the Year and pick up two other notable awards for our children’s services and work in property estate. This is a fantastic tribute to the dedication and commitment of our staff across the council, who day-in, day out are working extremely hard to provide a diligent and effective service to the people of Leeds.
“Our ambition to be a compassionate city with a strong economy underpins all of the work that we are doing, and it was very pleasing therefore that both the leadership and vision of the council was also highlighted by the judges as key reasons for the authority winning this award.’
She was in no doubt about the challenges Leeds has had to face:
“The last few years have undoubtedly been tough and it isn’t going to get any easier in the future with the significant budgetary challenges that remain.”
And she had warnings for the future – it’s likely there are more challenges to come. But she added
‘ I am however confident that by moving forward with our strategic vision for the city, whilst doing everything in our power to protect our key services and most vulnerable, we can continue to make long-lasting improvements that benefit everyone in our city.”
“This success shows that working together, with our partners, we can continue to achieve great things for the people of Leeds.”
In these troubled times, Labour local government has been quietly delivering for all our people.
It’s great that its efforts here in Leeds have had this recognition.