Council in running for second major award

We are delighted to share with you that Aberdeen City Council has been named as a finalist in the Local Authority of the Year category of The MJ (Municipal Journal) Awards 2020.

The MJ Awards recognise excellence in the public sector and are among the most prestigious in the UK.

A virtual ceremony will be held in October – the same month that Aberdeen City Council will be up for Council of the Year in the annual LGC (Local Government Chronicle) Awards 2020, being the only Scottish authority shortlisted.

To be in the running for two major awards is a fantastic achievement and a huge endorsement of our staff and their commitment to the people of Aberdeen.

It’s worth reflecting on how we came to be here, not least because we are drawing on those strengths as we emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown.

Judges in the MJ Awards had asked for evidence of successful outcomes in key services; examples of innovation; details of how we have risen to the challenge of reducing budgets; and a reason why our local authority stands apart from all others.

Aberdeen City Council has changed very significantly in only a few years.

We’ve transitioned to a new way of working, with a focus on demand management and early intervention.

Digital infrastructure is revolutionising how public sector services are delivered, allowing people to interact with us in new and more direct ways. We’ve embraced emerging technology to improve services for the customer whilst making the public pound go further.

Our Partnership approach to service delivery is perfectly demonstrated in the creation of Aberdeen Communities Together, which has seen the Council’s team work tirelessly alongside more than 150 community partners and over 1,000 individuals, fostering a new wave of civic pride.

As with everything we do, the ACT initiative ties back to the aims and objectives of the Local Outcome Improvement Plan, which maps out the way in which multi-agency partners can work together to ensure Aberdeen is a place where all people can prosper, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Of course, the whole world has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we edge back to some kind of normality every local authority finds itself under intense scrutiny on a daily basis.

But the ingredients for success are always the same: an unswerving dedication to public service, underpinned by a profound understanding of what community is.

As a Council we have a pivotal role to play in restoring our city to economic health, but we must do that in a safe and responsible manner. Our duty of care to the people and place mustn’t be forgotten in the rush to recover.

That we’re able to balance very different demands — to drive our city forward in a sustainable and inclusive way, to always tether ambition to compassion — has been recognised in our shortlisting for local authority of the year.

We responded to the oil downturn by kick-starting the renaissance of our city with a massive capital programme that included investing in new council housing, schools, community hubs, cultural venues, green energy, and digital connectivity.

And all the while we’ve kept the cogs turning by maintaining roads, emptying bins, cutting grass, supporting the vulnerable.

Win or lose in October, we have never been more proud of our everyone’s efforts in delivering for the people of Aberdeen. Our collective sense of purpose shines through in everything we do, day in, day out.