Colchester Borough Council is celebrating after being shortlisted in two categories in a national awards scheme which celebrates the very best of local government services and staff throughout the UK.
The council has been shortlisted in the ‘Best Commercial Council’ and ‘Rising Star’ categories in the annual Municipal Journal (MJ) Achievement Awards, one of the major events within the public sector calendar.
As Best Commercial Council, judges recognised the council’s vision in establishing its commercial trading companies through Colchester Commercial Holdings Ltd (CCHL) and its three subsidiary companies: Colchester Amphora Energy Ltd (CAEL), Colchester Amphora Homes Ltd (CAHL) and Colchester Amphora Trading Ltd (CATL).
With their focus to deliver on the council’s strategic priorities of climate change, economic growth, health and wellbeing, and improved homes and infrastructure, the companies are structured to ensure profits are returned to the council for the benefit of the people of the borough.
Judges recognised CCHL’s achievements to date, which include delivery of a nationally-significant carbon-cutting District Heat Network at Colchester Northern Gateway (CAEL); a £95 million borough-wide housebuilding programme which combines the private housing with 30% council-owned homes for affordable rent (CAHL); delivery of the 76-acre Colchester Northern Gateway Sports Hub, and deployment of ultrafast gigabyte broadband to new homes and businesses across Colchester (CATL).
Cllr Theresa Higgins, Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services, said: “I am very proud that the council has been nationally recognized for its foresight in establishing our Amphora companies. CCHL’s financial contribution to CBC put us in the best possible position to face the significant challenges ahead and maintain healthy dividends that are so vital to supporting delivery of valued services for the residents and businesses of the borough.”
MJ judges also recognised Colchester Borough Council’s employee Cezara Cosma, adding her to the shortlist as a Rising Star. Cezara initially joined CBC as a temp within the Housing Benefit team, rapidly rising through the ranks to secure a permanent managerial role within the team.
Recognising a serious shortfall in the provision of support to EU nationals securing their rights of settlement, Cezara delivered a fully functioning new service within weeks – transforming the town’s Library and Community Hub into a digital access point, engaging with the Unitary Authority, elected members and staff to develop the service, creating new processes and commissioning a communications package. Cezara is now part of a corporate team focused on developing council-wide strategic priorities into real and tangible business streams.
Cllr Mark Cory, Leader of the Council, added: “Congratulations to Cezara who has embraced the council’s support and brought her own outstanding skills, experience and dedication to bear in her remarkable achievements that will make life better for so many residents. We wish her well in the next stages.”
Adrian Pritchard (pictured), Chief Executive of Colchester Borough Council, said: “These awards are one the biggest and most prestigious for local government and I am very proud that Colchester Borough Council has been recognised in this way.”
The shortlisting adds to the council’s growing list of accolades. Earlier this year it announced a final place in three categories of the LGC Awards 2020 for “Driving Growth”, “Entrepreneurial Council” and “Digital Impact”.
Winners of both the LGC and MJ Awards are due to be announced in October.