Council’s graduates win top prize at national competition

Officers on the council’s graduate programme have come first in the Young Local Authority of the Year competition with their arguments around complexity theory.

The eighth annual competition was held at the University of Lancaster last week (Tuesday 19

February – Wednesday 20 February) with 29 teams from a wide range of occupations and backgrounds taking part.

Clare Poolman and Sam Facer, who were both recruited to Leeds City Council from local universities last summer in the first ever cross-council graduate recruitment programme, volunteered for the opportunity earlier in the year.

As part of the competition the team have to give a six minute presentation and then answer questions from the judging panel. Then in a more informal session the team asks itself a question on any topic and then has to discuss this for two minutes with no notes.

Their presentation “Between birds & bicycles; Why local government must embrace complexity” argued that organisations should recognise that systems are not mechanical and that societal problems are not easy to fix - we need to listen and experiment to move forward.

Clare, said:

“The competition was a brilliant opportunity to share our ideas with future leaders of local government from across the UK. I feel privileged to be able to build on the thinking Leeds City Council has already begun with the Commission on the Future of Local Government.

Sam said:

“We are pleased to have won the competition after putting a lot of hard work into our presentation. Being on the graduate programme at the council has offered us a wide range of opportunities.”

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“It is great to see officers in their early careers in local government getting involved in national debates and competitions. Congratulations to both Clare and Sam for winning this national competition, it is a great result.”

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council said:

"It is a testament to the quality of people we are attracting to Leeds that two of our officers on the graduate programme have come away with this outstanding result.

Their arguments were very compelling, and as an authority we are extremely proud of them for winning.

"We have taken in eight other graduates, as well as Clare and Sam, since last summer as part of a drive to make the workforce of the council more diverse. The programme offers graduates wishing to pursue a career in local government an insight into how the council works and makes a positive impact with the communities of Leeds."


For media enquiries, please contact;

Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk