Children’s services in Leeds were recognised with a prestigious award at a local government awards event earlier this week.
At the 20th annual Local Government Chronicle Awards, one of the most prestigious events in the local government calendar, Leeds City Council’s children’s services department was presented with the ‘Children’s Services’ award. Over 800 of the most senior figures in British local government gathered at London’s Grosvenor House to celebrate achievements and best practice across the local government sector.
The award was presented by actor Stephen Mangan after a panel of judges, made up of senior and influential figures from the public sector; decided Leeds City Council was the top authority for its innovative approach and work to make a difference to the lives of children and young people.
The judges commented; “A genuinely ambitious programme reaching out to all children and young people across the city, through concerted interagency drive and an obvious clarity of leadership.”
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“This is fantastic recognition for all of the staff who work so hard to make Leeds the best place for children to grow up in. This award is for the people who teach, protect, raise ambition and aspirations, people who go the extra mile to give Leeds children the best start in life.
“This is one of the most prestigious awards in local government and we were up against some very high quality opposition. We are very proud that the judges recognised what we do here in Leeds to make a real difference in the lives of children.”
Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services said:
“Our journey over the last few years demonstrates that with ambition, shared focus and a whole system approach it is possible to transform services for children, young people and families.
“This award is recognition of the innovative approach that we have taken, and the difference that it has made and continues to make. Despite this acknowledgment and our positive Ofsted inspection last year, we are not complacent and know that there is still more for us to do to continue to improve outcomes for all children and young people in the city.
“I do want to thank our fantastic team of staff and our wonderful partners around the city for everything they are doing, day in, day out, to improve the lives of children, young people and their families.”
Nick Golding, LGC’s editor, said about the awards:
“It is vital that we celebrate the best of local government, not least as the talent and innovation of council officers and councillors is often not recognised to the extent it should be.
“The recipients of the awards are the people doing the most to improve services at a time resources are constrained. We should thank them for their great work.”
Of the core cities inspected by Ofsted so far, Leeds is the only one to have its children’s services rated as ‘good’ overall with ‘outstanding’ leadership, management and governance. Since the inspection, more than one third of all local authorities have visited Leeds to find out more about this successful journey of improvement. Leeds is now one of just three local authorities chosen to be part of the Department for Education’s ‘improvement framework’, and has begun working with other local authorities to support their own journeys to better outcomes. In December 2015, the government acknowledged Leeds as having an ‘exemplar’ children’s services, and has indicated it is keen for Leeds to work with more local authorities as a ‘partner in practice’.