Applications for the Transformation Awards 2019 are still OPEN!
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Public Sector Transformation Awards, we are taking a trip down memory lane to look at the past Council of the Year Winners.
2015: Aylesbury Vale District Council
AVDC sees benefits of iESE Council of the Year win. Caroline Wheller, Corporate Commercial Strategy Manager at Aylesbury Vale District Council, was one of the team behind the application leading to its 2015 iESE Council of the Year win. Here, she talks about the award, why the council entered and the benefits it has brought Aylesbury Vale District Council has routinely looked at awards as a way of gaining external validation of its success. The council, which has a good working relationship with iESE and is an iESE member, set its sights of becoming 2015 Council of the Year after five years of work to change its culture and looking at its leadership. In 2010 the council started a programme called Be the Change aimed at changing its culture.
Seeing the forthcoming cuts to local authority budgets it also started to review its services and looked at new ways of doing business with a new business model approach. At the same time the council built new offices and moved everyone into a new building. " There were lots of rationalising our footprint and we introduced a car-pooling scheme," Wheller explains. "We had a commercial AVDC programme for income generation and in 2015 we launched the community lottery so there was a lot of activity." Wheller said winning the award gave the council a real buzz. "As a result of us winning we held a local authority conference sponsored by our partners, we had about 120 delegates and we have had several more conferences since. It is just such a lift to recognise the change that you have been through and this leads to more change."
The council celebrated the win on its intranet and displays the award in the council building. "We are still proud of the iESE award and we still enter awards every year. We are fishing in other ponds for awards too now because we recognise they give another string to the bow." What about the fact that time spent applying for awards is time that could be spent on public services? Wheller does not think that is a factor and would encourage other councils to apply too. "How can the public be sure that you are spending their money wisely if you keep it under wraps and don't tell anybody? It is an independent assessment of your success - you are not paying for it -it is only the time taken to apply for the award and they are not that cumbersome. If you have got the right projects, you should be able to enter and win."