Date issued: 2 October 2020
Colchester Borough Council is celebrating today (2 October 2020) after winning a prestigious prize at a national awards ceremony honouring the very best of local government services and staff throughout the UK.
The council was named ‘Best Commercial Council’ in the annual Municipal Journal (MJ) Achievement Awards, one of the major events in the public sector calendar.
Judges recognised the council’s vision in establishing its commercial trading companies through Colchester Commercial Holdings Ltd (CCHL) and its three subsidiary companies: Colchester Amphora Energy Ltd (CAEL); Colchester Amphora Homes Ltd (CAHL), and Colchester Amphora Trading Ltd (CATL).
With their focus on delivering the council’s strategic priorities of climate change, economic growth, health and wellbeing, and improved homes and infrastructure, the companies are structured to ensure profits are returned to the council for the benefit of the people of the borough.
Judges singled out CCHL’s achievements to date, which include delivery of a nationally-significant carbon-cutting District Heat Network at Colchester Northern Gateway (CAEL); a £95 million borough-wide housebuilding programme, which combines private housing with 30% council-owned homes for affordable rent (CAHL); delivery of the 76-acre Colchester Northern Gateway Sports Park, and deployment of ultrafast gigabyte broadband to new homes and businesses across Colchester (CATL).
MJ judges also recognised Colchester Borough Council’s employee Cezara Cosma in the Rising Star category, with a ‘Highly Commended’. Cezara initially joined CBC as a temp within the Housing Benefit team, rapidly rising through the ranks to secure a permanent managerial role within the team.
Recognising a serious shortfall in the provision of support to EU nationals securing their rights of settlement, Cezara delivered a fully functioning new service within weeks – transforming the town’s Library and Community Hub into a digital access point, engaging with the County Council, elected members and staff to develop the service, creating new processes and commissioning a communications package. Cezara is now part of a corporate team focused on developing council-wide strategic priorities into real and tangible business streams.
Cllr Theresa Higgins, Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services, said: “I am absolutely delighted and extremely proud that the council has been nationally recognised for its farsightedness in establishing our Amphora group of companies.
“CCHL’s financial contribution to the council puts us in the best possible position to face the significant financial challenges that lay ahead and will help us maintain healthy dividends, which are so vital to support frontline services for residents and businesses.”
Cllr Mark Cory, Leader of the Council, added: “It is tremendously gratifying to see our work recognised like this.
“The strength of our success against such stiff opposition reflects positively on our entrepreneurial spirit as a council and on the inventive ways our commercial trading companies have helped generate income and create more growth in the borough.
“Congratulations, also, to Cezara who has embraced the council’s support and brought her own outstanding skills, experience and dedication to bear in her remarkable achievements, which will make life better for so many residents.”
Adrian Pritchard, Chief Executive of Colchester Borough Council, said: “These awards are one of the biggest and most prestigious for local government and I am very proud that Colchester Borough Council has been recognised in this way.
“I congratulate everyone involved in this remarkable achievement, which shows our success in managing services and assets in a more business-like and commercial manner while retaining a strong public-sector ethos.”
Today’s MJ Award adds to a growing list of accolades, with the council receiving three category nominations in the LGC Awards 2020 for “Driving Growth”, “Entrepreneurial Council” and “Digital Impact”, due to be announced on 28 October.
More information about today’s awards is available here.