Colchester Council has been recognised for its continuing efforts to raise awareness of dementia among staff and residents. The council, which is a member of the Colchester Dementia Action Alliance (CDAA), has been accredited and awarded ‘Working towards becoming a Dementia Friendly Community’ status. August 2022
The council was one of the first employers to sign up and was awarded Charter status from 1 March 2022.
The Charter is a set of minimum principles that employers in Essex should meet to be deemed family-friendly. Not all employers can offer flexible working. However, family-friendly policies are about more than being able to work from home. The Charter was launched in March 2022 and sets out how employers can help parents and carers manage their work and caring commitments. We’re one of 12 employers to sign up from the beginning. March 2022
Colchester Council was shortlisted in the Economic Support category of the LGC Awards 2021. November 2021.
As a Disability Confident Committed Employer we have committed to ensure our recruitment process is inclusive and accessible; communicate and promote vacancies; offer an interview to disabled people; anticipate and provide reasonable adjustments as required; support any existing employee who acquires a disability or long-term health condition, enabling them to stay in work.
Colchester Council was re-accredited for a further three years to 2024. June 2021
The council has achieved level 3 of this accreditation from Provide, in supporting staff with health and wellbeing issues. This is the top level, which recognises that the organisation “demonstrates long term, sustained commitment and creative development and engagement of staff”. March 2021
Colchester was selected as one of 101 towns across the country that could apply. The bid was submitted by ‘We Are Colchester’, a partnership involving public, private and voluntary organisations, formed in January 2020. These ambitious and dynamic plans to help deliver long-term economic growth for Colchester are a step closer, following the award of £18.2m from the government’s Town Deal Fund. March 2021
We received recognition under this scheme that our venues follow government and industry COVID-19 guidelines. This includes Colchester Castle and Natural History Museum, and events held by Amphora Trading, the council’s events company. February 2021
The council was featured in the 2020 Environmental sustainability report from Microsoft, a testament to the work which the organisation is achieving on Dynamics, ICT Strategy and our focus on commitment to climate change.
“Colchester Borough Council provides services to 192,500 residents, from licensing to recycling. The Council is using Dynamics 365 to unify its data, like the recycling tracking system that provides reporting via Power BI, showing data like heatmaps of problem spots for collections or where residents need more encouragement to recycle. The insights derived from Power BI close the loop for development, providing KPIs that help the Borough improve both the app and recycling services to improve landfill diversion rates”. (page 52). February 2021.
Colchester won the Entrepreneurial Council category of the LGC Awards 2020.
The LGC awards are dubbed the ‘biggest celebration of excellence in local government’, and this year’s competition saw a record number of entries.
The Entrepreneurial Council award showcases the work of the council’s wholly owned commercial companies Colchester Amphora Trading Ltd (CATL), Colchester Amphora Energy Ltd (CAEL) and Colchester Amphora Homes Ltd (CAHL) since their formation in 2018.
Colchester was also shortlisted in two other categories: Driving Growth and Digital Impact.
The council was named ‘Best Commercial Council’ in 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 and its three subsidiary companies: Colchester Amphora Energy Ltd; Colchester Amphora Homes Ltd, and Colchester Amphora Trading Ltd.
Judges singled out achievements to date, which include the delivery of a nationally-significant carbon-cutting District Heat Network at Colchester Northern Gateway; a £95 million borough-wide housebuilding programme, which combines private housing with 30% council-owned homes for affordable rent; delivery of the 76-acre Colchester Northern Gateway Sports Park, and deployment of ultrafast gigabyte broadband to new homes and businesses across Colchester.
Cezara Cosma was highly commended in the Rising Star category. Initially joining as a Housing Benefit temp, Cezara is now the council’s contact and support manager. This category is “a great way of recognising new talent which is really important for local government.” With Lily Etherington’s 2019 commendation, staff in the council’s customer directorate have been finalists in two of the three years since this category’s launch. October 2020
The council features as a ‘locally led place-shaping in action’ case study in the LGiU’s ‘Power down to level up – resilient place shaping for a post-Covid world’ report. For the council, the idea of place-shaping encapsulates the approach to planning, economic development, the built environment, local skills and, crucially, community cohesion and wellbeing. October 2020
The council features as case studies in these three national reports:
Working with integrated care systems case study about the council’s long-standing engagement with the wider health and social care sector is on page 11 of this District Council’s Network/Grant Thornton report.
The council’s Covid-19 Community Response Pack is featured on page 3’s “information sharing and support”, with its “Support for places and High Street adaptation” contribution to business recovery on page 10.
The council’s work in “Protecting Guardians under Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Management Regulations” is shown as a case study on page 11. This case has clarified that properties occupied by guardians can fall within the definition of an HMO, the requirement to be licensed and to comply with HMO Management Regulations, and that legal action can be taken if landlords fail to address poor living conditions and a lack of adequate facilities in buildings occupied by property guardians. Autumn 2020
Awarded to Colchester Council ‘in recognition of great and valuable services to the community during the Covid-19 Pandemic. This also recognises the appreciation of the residents and people of Essex for activity and contribution in enhancing the life of the community at this challenging time.’ April 2020.
Colchester Council is highlighted by the District Councils’ Network (DCN), as an example of a swift and positive response in establishing a range of means for communicating with residents and businesses – from reliable information and financial assistance to service updates and news. March 2020
Colchester has been ranked joint top performer in the Eastern Region and equal third most climate-friendly area in England and Wales, according to Friends of the Earth who assessed councils in different categories including renewable energy, public transport, lift-sharing, energy efficiency at home, waste recycling, and tree cover. October 2019.
The council has achieved a Gold award from the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme. This scheme recognises organisations which go the extra mile to demonstrate their commitment to aiding and employing members of the military community. It is the first time the council has received the Gold Award (2019), having previously received the Silver and Bronze accolade.
The council aims to maintain and develop this work and is pleased to set an example to others. We are actively working to raise awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant and encouraging other businesses and organisations in the area to also be Forces Friendly employers.
While the council’s existing employment policies and Employee Assistance Programme already enshrine elements of the Dying to Work campaign, signing up to the Charter offers additional assurances to council staff about how they will be supported, protected and guided throughout their employment following a terminal diagnosis. 2018
City of Sanctuary is a movement committed to building a culture of hospitality and welcome, especially for refugees seeking sanctuary from war and persecution. It is a network of local groups including boroughs, towns and cities across the UK and Ireland, all committed to building this culture of welcome across every sphere of society. The council’s cabinet approved a motion to declare Colchester as a Borough of Sanctuary, following the examples of other local authorities already signed up to the City of Sanctuary principles.
Colchester has been highlighted as a creative hotspot in the Government's latest 'Sector Deal' for the Creative Industries. Recognised for 'high growth and concentration' of the creative industries, Colchester is ranked 20th out of 47 creative places in the UK.
This could open a wide variety of opportunities, as the sector deal includes action to support the creative industries with the announcement of a new Creative Development Fund. This £20m fund aims to help creative hot-spots like Colchester to become world-class, unlock growth, encourage investment and create new jobs.
The Fairtrade Foundation awarded Colchester the title of 'Fairtrade Town', an official status awarded to towns that have a proven commitment to supporting Fairtrade. Colchester maintained this status every year since 2006, and it demonstrates the town's commitment to raising awareness of the benefits of Fairtrade products in the community.
Colchester Council's successful collaboration with other agencies and organisations has been praised in a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for District Councils (APPG).
70 district councils submitted evidence, with Colchester Council selected to take part as witnesses to the inquiry panel. The cross-party group of parliamentarians heard how Colchester Council's work with Essex County Council and the voluntary sector had transformed the way some services are delivered by significantly increasing the opportunities for residents and customers to interact online with the council and via the Community Hub in the Central Library.
The Inquiry also touched on the work of the Safer Colchester Partnership.
Winner of the Environmental Awareness category for the Council's Environmental Sustainability Strategy and related work. The Strategy sets out how Colchester will be a prominent sustainable borough by being a leading example in the community and helping communities become more resilient to climate change. The Environmental Sustainability Strategy and CBC's #greenercol film can be seen at www.colchester.gov.uk/sustainability
Colchester was one of 30 councils which worked with the Housing and Finance Institute on the Housing Business Ready Programme and workshops to prepare them for strategic and delivery change for housing.
"Colchester is a council that has consistently delivered in housing. We were impressed with the ambition of the team who showed they have the confidence and capability to do business and get more homes on the ground. We were delighted to award them a well-deserved Housing Business Ready status". Natalie Elphicke, Chief Executive of the Housing and Finance Institute.
This award recognises that the Colchester Council has achieved best practice in the way it provides learning and development opportunities for its elected members (councillors). The council was first awarded Charter Status in 2011 and was reaccredited in 2015, 2018 and 2022. The accreditation lasts for a period of three years, followed by a full reassessment.
The Charter is recognition of the council’s achievement of best practice in the way it provides learning and development opportunities for its elected members and also provides effective support to its elected members. This provides reassurance to current and potential members. It also provides a reassurance to residents that their elected representatives will be supported to enable them to undertake their roles and responsibilities effectively.
To achieve Charter Status the council had to demonstrate that it has met all of the following criteria:
a) There is a clear commitment to councillor development and support
b) The council has a strategic approach to councillor development
c) Learning and development is effective in building skills and knowledge.
To meet these criteria, the council demonstrates its commitment to supporting and developing councillors and how this is reflected in its policies and procedures. Key elements include an all-party member development group, a member development policy and strategy and formal methods of assessing member training needs.
Colchester Council is officially recognised as a Living Wage Employer. We pay the Living Wage to all directly employed staff, and have completed a phased plan for third party contracted staff as relevant contracts came up for renewal.
The council signed up for its first annual licence with the Living Wage Foundation on 1 February 2016.
The licence is a formal agreement for Colchester City Council (CCC) to adhere to the criteria set out by the Living Wage Foundation. Grounds maintenance was the first CCC contract to include paying the Living Wage when this contract started in April 2016.
The Equality Framework for Local Government is an independent assessment of how well a council is delivering services to all members of the community. It is based on three levels of achievement; developing, achieving and excellent. Colchester Council has been awarded the achieving level.