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Neath Port Talbot and Swansea Council shortlisted for UK ‘Council of the Year’ award

Neath Port Talbot Council and Swansea Council has been shortlisted for the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) Overall Council of the Year in Service Delivery Award 2021.

The prestigious award recognises the best and most innovative local authority in the UK.

Focusing on their delivery of frontline services, the award seeks to celebrate those councils which are achieving excellent results in a wide range of different service areas.

The seven shortlisted UK councils are:

• Neath Port Talbot Council

• Telford and Wrekin Council

• Swansea Council

• Wigan Council

• Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council

• Lancaster City Council

• East Ayrshire Council

APSE says all of the finalists have demonstrated their commitment to implementing innovative ideas, and excellence in public service delivery across a range of frontline services, supporting continuous improvement in local public services.

Paul O’Brien, APSE’s Chief Executive, said, “This year’s Overall Council of the Year finalists have proven themselves to be excellent at implementing exciting, innovative projects and new ways of working.

“Local authorities have been described by many as the ‘fourth emergency service’, and the pandemic has thrown into sharp relief just how much this rings true. From waste collectors to chief executives, there has been a coming together of operational expertise and strategy. The finalists are a credit to the communities they service.”

The winner of the prestigious APSE Overall Council of the Year Award 2021 will be announced in Birmingham at the APSE Annual Service Awards Charity Dinner on Thursday 9 September.

As well as being shortlisted for the Overall Council of the Year Award Neath Port Talbot Council is also shortlisted for the following awards:

• Best Collaborative Working Initiative (with other public sector or third sector) – The Immbulance mobile vaccination vehicle (Neath Port Talbot Council working in partnership with Swansea Bay University Health Board)
• Best Service Team: Facilities Management and Building Cleaning Service – NPT Council Access Managed Services (Cleaning Services).
• Best Service Team: The council’s Cemetery and Crematorium Service.
• Best public/private working initiative – The NPT Buy Local Campaign (An online directory showing which local businesses were providing deliveries and support during the Covid-19 Pandemic).

Individual other award submissions unsuccessful in the categories in which they were entered still contributed to the council successfully reaching the shortlist for the Overall Council of the Year Award. These included submissions from the council’s Education Welfare and Wellbeing and Behaviour services.

Neath Port Talbot Council Leader Cllr Ted Latham said: “I am delighted that the outstanding hard work, innovation and determination to continue providing vital local services which was shown by this council during the Covid-19 pandemic has been recognised by being shortlisted for this extremely prestigious award.

“I would also like to thank our residents and the many volunteers who helped out in getting us through this unprecedented crisis along with our businesses who diversified and continued working during the pandemic doing deliveries and in some cases making personal protective equipment.”

Karen Jones, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Chief Executive, added: “In what has been, to say the least, an extremely challenging year, to be one of just seven councils shortlisted for Overall Council of the Year is a tribute to our staff’s dedication and commitment to keeping essential services like refuse collection, care and support and education services going for our local communities, residents and businesses.

“Many members of the public showed their appreciation when our staff were out keeping these essential services going during this long pandemic period and this recognition from APSE is another acknowledgement of the commitment our staff have shown.”