Derby City Council scoops national gong for project which helped to save £32m
A PROJECT which officials say saved Derby City Council £32 million in the past three years has won them a national award.
The authority scooped the business transformation prize at the Local Government Chronicle awards – held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, in London.
But it missed out on the council of the year award – for which it was also shortlisted – to Greenwich Royal Borough Council, where the London 2012 Olympics were held.
A spokeswoman for the council said the transformation award had been won for its One Derby, One Council programme – credited with saving the £32 million.
She said the programme "drove the development" of the controversial £24 million refurbishment of the authority's Council House.
When the building closed in December 2010, 500 staff moved out.
But 1,844 staff have been moved in so the council can save money, by not having to rent other offices around the city
The authority was criticised when it decided to spend millions on the refurbishment.
And, earlier this week, it came under fire when it was revealed six trees in planters bought to stand outside the site cost £8,000 each.
But the council spokeswoman said One Derby, One Council also involved the "upgrading of the council website and the creation of new central teams, like business support".
Council leader Paul Bayliss said: "One Derby, One Council has been the catalyst for change in the council.
"The success of the programme is undoubtedly due to strong leadership, a clear vision and the support and involvement of staff across the organisation.
"Even in these tough financial times, we have been innovating, finding better and smarter ways of doing things.
"We have invested in new IT so we can work more quickly and effectively."
Council chief executive Adam Wilkinson said: "Winning this award is a great achievement and is recognition by our peers of the work we have been doing over the past three years in transforming the organisation.
"I'd like to thank all our staff for their hard work and commitment in helping to transform the organisation, so we can deliver more efficient and effective services to our customers."
In winning council of the year, the Greenwich authority was praised by judges for its investment – including a £9m spend on schools, communities and sport, along with work to help people back into employment.
As well as Derby, Greenwich beat Essex, Newham, Surrey and Wakefield councils to the prize.