Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s waste department has been crowned Northern Ireland’s Best Local Authority Service Team.
The council was shortlisted for an impressive five Local Government Awards ahead of the event hosted by Sarah Travers at the Armagh City Hotel.
The Awards are co-ordinated by NILGA and the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE), and this year they attracted an unprecedented 78 entries and showcased brilliance in service provision, new initiatives and the personal commitment from councils, councillors, staff and partners.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Lindsay Millar, said: “Mid and East Antrim Borough Council delivered an innovative communications campaign in 2017 that engaged householders and called them to action to recycle food waste and re-use and recycle materials at council’s household recycling centres.
“This resulted in council recording the highest recycling rate among Northern Ireland councils during July to September 2017, at 57.5% – an improvement of 8.4%.
“The positive public reaction to the campaign was brilliant.
“The combination of work resulted in council increasing its household recycling rate by 7.5% over the period April to December 2017, saving £235,000 in disposal costs and demonstrating significant and consistent behavioural change to recycling by householders across the borough.
“The campaign has been recommended by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs as best practice for other councils and has been presented as a case study at officials’ meetings of the British Irish Council.
“This is down to the hard and committed work by our staff, who worked together to develop this engaging initiative to encourage positive behavioural change and approach to food waste recycling within our borough.”
Speaking at the event, Councillor Dermot Curran, Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) President, said: “Congratulations to the winners and to all the 11 councils who took the time to submit entries into the 2018 Local Government Awards.
“We’re almost a full electoral term on from the big changes to local government. A huge amount of hard work and vision has gone into modernising councils for local communities, businesses and visitors – as well as meeting needs of wider government and civic society.
“As community impact grows and performance improves right across our 11 councils, these awards are testimony to how local government is truly at the hub of developing locally designed solutions to local need, as well as planning for a sustainable future. They also provide fantastic learning tools for councils, in an environment where every penny counts.
“We can do things better by learning from the best. Excellence and efficiency are things that NILGA is passionate about, and it is reflected in our ambitious councils who are celebrating strong public services delivered through local people tonight.”
APSE Chief Executive, Paul O’Brien said: “Too often the creativity and dedication shown by those who work in frontline services goes unnoticed. This is why these awards are so important.
“They are a fitting tribute to the resilience and inventiveness of council staff across Northern Ireland who continue to work tirelessly to deliver first-rate services; going the extra mile to add real value to communities.
“Alongside NILGA, APSE understand that local councils are key to creating a better, more prosperous Northern Ireland. As these awards demonstrate, there is no lack of challenge and no poverty of ambition among local authorities.”
The Awards cover nine categories and sponsor partners / support bodies contributing are: Association for Public Service Excellence; William Johnston Memorial Trust; Enterprise Northern Ireland; Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers; Northern Ireland Local Government Association; National Association of Councillors; Sustainable NI; Quarry Products Association and Tourism NI.
Nominees were judged by an independent panel, the winners in each category were announced at the Gala Awards Recognition Evening which followed the NILGA’s Flagship Annual Conference, ‘Building Sustainable Communities, Delivering a Better Northern Ireland for Everyone’, at the Armagh City Hotel.