Oldham Council recently announced that it has been nominated for two prestigious Local Government Chronicle (LGC) awards.

The Local Authority has been shortlisted in the ‘Most Improved Council of the Year’ and ‘Children’s Services’ categories for 2012.

This annual awards scheme seeks to highlight the work of Local Authorities striving for excellence who can demonstrate significant and measured improvements. Oldham is on the ‘Most Improved Council’ shortlist for the second year running. Judges will visit later this month to see if the organisation has continued to improve.

Oldham Council is looking to transform its relationships with its residents, partners and communities. According to a spokesman from Oldham Council Oldham is leading nationally on the adoption of a new Ethical Framework and a Community Dividend Scheme, and an extra £2 million has also been transferred ‘downwards’ to devolve services to districts, strengthening local democracy and new forms of service delivery.

Oldham’s submission identifies several other improvements which include:

  • Commendation from the Audit Commission for the speed and accuracy of our Final Accounts as the fastest in the country;
  • Crowned ’Best City’ in North West in Bloom;
  • Halved the number of families living in temporary accommodation;
  • Achieved an 11th consecutive year-on-year improvement in the proportion of pupils gaining five A*-C GCSEs;
  • Provided self-directed support packages to 54 per cent of adult social care users – 24 per cent above the national target;
  • More than doubled the number of drug users in effective treatment;
  • Delivered 20 per cent more new homes than last year;
  • Retained Green Flag status for all seven award-winning parks.

Oldham Council has also been shortlisted for the ‘Children’s Services’ award.

After having been judged as ‘zero star’ for safeguarding in 2003, and adequate in 2009, this service now has the highest-possible Ofsted ranking of ‘performing excellently’ and is the most improved in the country.

The service’s submission focuses on the success of the Behaviour and Attendance Partnership which aims to prevent exclusion and non-attendance at school, provide support and intervention, and return young people to mainstream education quickly.

That has seen significant improvements that include: an increase of 20 per cent since 2009 on the number of secondary schools judged ‘good or better’ for behaviour; a 45 per cent reduction in the numbers of pupils permanently excluded; plus falls in the number of pupils with persistent school absence.

Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, said: “We are undergoing major changes here as we seek to address the public sector financial challenges by becoming a Cooperative Council.”

“That is a vision of a Council that works closer alongside residents, partners and communities to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for all: with everybody doing their bit.”

“Being shortlisted by the LGC in these two categories is excellent recognition from our peers that we are moving in the right direction.”

“However, we are fully conscious that what our residents and Council Taxpayers think about our services – and how able they feel to contribute and change them to reflect their priorities – is ultimately what matters most.”

The LGC Awards winners 2012 will be announced on Wednesday, March 14.

The awards shortlists can be viewed at: http://www.lgcawards.co.uk/344919



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