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South Somerset District Council shortlisted for Award

Wednesday 14 April 2010, 13:38
By Dawn Haydon

South Somerset District Council could soon be announced as the Best Achieving Council in the United Kingdom after being short-listed for a national award this week. Organisers of the prestigious Municipal Journal (MJ) Awards contacted the district council with the news that it had not only been selected as one of five finalists in the best achieving category for the second year running, but that it would also be in the running for the 'Most Effective Political Team' award.

To reach the short-list South Somerset District Council was cherry picked despite tough competition from much larger authorities including county, borough and unitary councils. Out of nearly 600 nominations only two other southwest councils have been shortlisted as finalists in any of the 14 categories.

Over the past year, South Somerset District Council delivered more affordable homes than any other council in the south west, reduced incidents of anti-social behaviour by a further 9 per cent, improved street cleaning so that 93 per cent of streets were kept at the 'excellent' cleanliness standard, achieved Green Flag status at all three country parks for the first time and won Gold for Britain in Bloom in partnership with Yeovil Town Council for its floral displays.

Mark Williams, Chief Executive at South Somerset District Council commented, "It is generally recognised that the MJ's Best Achieving Council award is one of the two most sought after and difficult to attain awards in local government. I'm very pleased for our staff and councillors that their hard work and dedication has been recognised in this way.

"We are an improving council - the second fastest improving in the country - and it's pretty special to have even made this short-list. Of course, awards are not everything; it is the actual services that residents experience that matters.

"Our residents have every right to expect high performance and value for money even in these difficult times and we want to be up there with the best, nationally."

A small team from the district council will soon visit a panel of judges from across the country who will ask to see demonstrations of real improvements that have been recognised by local people.

The council is up against authorities in Hackney, Plymouth, Fenland, Liverpool and Rushcliffe for the Best Achieving Council award, and is pitched against Sheffield, Durham, Westminster, Hackney and Southampton councils in the Political Team category.

The authority will find out if it has been successful on Thursday 24 June.


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