This month Aberdeen City Council was crowned Local Authority of the Year in the MJ (Municipal Journal) Achievement Awards 2020.
It gives us enormous pride to have won this prestigious UK title celebrating achievements in local government.
The MJ Awards highlight the very real difference public sector workers make to people’s lives – day in, day out – and we believe that our staff’s efforts are absolutely something worth showcasing.
Key to our success is the strong synergy we have achieved as Administration leaders with the senior management team, led by chief executive Angela Scott.
Together we have worked to deliver a shared vision for the city, prioritising long term planning over short term gains.
The MJ Award recognised performance in 2019/20 financial year – so, immediately before the COVID-19 pandemic reset our world.
We need to remember that before the coronavirus swept the country, things were anything but straightforward for Aberdeen. We had been rocked by the downturn in oil and gas industry and a contraction of public sector funding.
In Aberdeen we chose to respond by continuing to invest in people and the place.
We had already recognised that we couldn’t deliver our economic, cultural and social vision for the city alone, and in responding to the challenge we were able to capitalise on our well-developed public and private sector partnerships.
MJ judges hailed our pioneering capital programme and significant investments in the social and cultural future of our communities, ranging from adopting digital technology as a driver for positive change to pushing ahead with the biggest council house building programme in a generation.
From world-class capital projects like The Event Complex Aberdeen (TECA) to frontline service delivery, we have transformed the city and the way we work – empowering staff and enabling communities.
Ultimately that involves understanding and meeting the evolving needs of our customer – putting them at the heart of everything we do – especially the most vulnerable.
This, then, is an award for all of Aberdeen, a salute to those ready to roll up their sleeves and work together for a positive future.
That same winning attitude is sustaining us through the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are of course in the running for a second top accolade – Council of the Year in the annual LGC (Local Government Chronicle) Awards 2020. Again, we are the only Scottish council nominated.
These are difficult days, for sure, but also ones in which we as a team are truly leading the way for the UK.