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
Awarded to Colchester Borough 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 Borough 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, 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.
For more information on the Council's work with the Armed Forces, please visit our new dedicated Armed Forces webpages: www.colchester.gov.uk/armedforces.
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.
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 Borough 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 Borough Council selected to take part as witnesses to the inquiry panel. The cross-party group of parliamentarians heard how Colchester Borough 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 Council has achieved best practice in the way it provides learning and development opportunities for its elected members (councillors).
Colchester Borough Council was first awarded Charter Status for Elected Member Development in 2011 and was reaccredited in 2015 and 2018. The accreditation lasts for a period of three years, and the next full reassessment takes place end July 2021.
This is recognition that the Council has achieved best practice in the way it provides learning and development opportunities for its elected members. This helps ensure that elected members have the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively represent the community.
In order to achieve Charter Status the Council had to demonstrate that it has met all of the following criteria:
To meet these criteria, the Council implemented and maintained a number of strategies, including the establishment of an all-party member development group, the introduction of a member development policy and methods of assessing member training needs.
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.
Investors in People is a framework which helps organisations become more effective by developing and harnessing the skills of their staff to achieve the organisation's goals.
Colchester Borough Council and Colchester Borough Homes have both achieved the Investor in People standard.
Colchester Borough 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 CBC to adhere to the criteria set out by the Living Wage Foundation. Grounds maintenance was the first CBC 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 Borough Council has been awarded the achieving level.