Yesterday was a day of mixed fortunes for the town. Despite an impressive bid Southend was unfortunate in its application for City status with Chelmsford emerging victorious. Congratulations to Chelmsford and I am pleased that this region has been recognised. Having been shortlisted last year for Council of Year in the LGC Annual Awards this year it is official: Southend is Council of the Year! I thought I would share this from the LGC shortlist:
"Despite financial constraints and adapting to a new government agenda, Southend-on-Sea continues to serve its communities well, providing high-quality services that meet their changing needs. The council has made every effort to streamline back-office functions and drive efficiencies. This means that it has avoided stopping or closing any services this year.
Southend’s achievements have not gone unnoticed - several of its services and projects have garnered national recognition or been highlighted for best practice. Its huge ambitions for the town – to be recognised as the cultural capital of the East of England; to promote a thriving sustainable economy; and to have first-class services and flourishing, active communities - have not wavered in the face of challenges. Rather, the council has delivered a programme of capital investment projects that will make a real difference to its residents and businesses for years to come".
Update: here is what the judges had to say as to why Southend were the victors:
`The winning Council has shown sustained progress over a number of years, passing clear milestones. It has gone beyond basic service provision, adding significant value and demonstrating visible impact for the community. Success has been driven by brave political leadership and strong managerial leadership. Results are underpinned by a strong vision, which is shared by staff and members. Judges were impressed by the Council’s ambition and real determination to change and shape the place for the better, and its investment in people, partnerships and leadership’