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Local Council Award Scheme

The Local Council Award Scheme exists to celebrate the successes of the very best local councils, and to provide a framework to support all local councils to meet their full potential. All local councils want to serve their local communities and make a real difference to the lives of the people that live there. This scheme offers councils the opportunity to show that they meet the standards set by the sector, assessed by their peers, and to put in place the conditions for continued improvement.

The Local Council Award Scheme has been designed to both provide the tools and encouragement to those councils at the beginning of their improvement journeys, as well as promoting and recognising councils that are at the cutting edge of the sector. It is only through the sector working together to share best practice, drive up standards and supporting those who are committed to improving their offer to their communities that individual councils and the sector as a whole will reach its full potential.

The scheme was created in 2014 and is managed on behalf of local councils by the Improvement and Development Board (IDB).

Councils can apply for an award at one of three levels.

  • The Foundation Award demonstrates that a council meets requirements for operating lawfully and according to standard practice.
  • The Quality Award demonstrates that a council achieves good practice in governance, community engagement and council improvement.
  • The Quality Gold Award demonstrates that a council is at the forefront of best practice and achieves excellence in governance, community leadership and council development.

The scheme sets out criteria to meet at each level covering selected aspects of the councils work.  Councils can seek to progress through the tiers over time thereby raising standards.  Councils of any size can aspire to an award appropriate for their budget and level of activity.

To support transparency, every award level has a requirement for certain information to be published online (plus some information that does not need to be published).  In all instances the council confirms that the required documents, information and conditions are in place (whether published or not) by resolution in public at a full council meeting.  For Quality Gold, councils also provide statements for submission to the panel demonstrating excellence in their activities.  The panel may ask for additional information to check the accuracy of claims.

The Foundation Award (Leigh-on-Sea Town Council currently has the Foundation Award awarded in October 2016)

To achieve a Foundation Award a council demonstrates that it has the documentation and information in place for operating lawfully and according to standard practice.  The council also has policies for training for its councillors and officers and building a foundation for improvement and development.

The council confirms by resolution at a full council meeting that it publishes online: 

  • Its standing orders and financial regulations
  • Its Code of Conduct and a link to councillors registers of interests
  • Its publication scheme
  • Its last annual return
  • Transparent information about council payments
  • A calendar of all meetings including the annual meeting of electors
  • Minutes for at least one year of full council meetings and (if relevant) all committee and sub-committee meetings        
  • Current agendas
  • The budget and precept information for the current or next financial year
  • Its complaints procedure
  • Council contact details and councillor information in line with the Transparency Code
  • Its action plan for the current year
  • Evidence of consulting the community
  • Publicity advertising council activities
  • Evidence of participating in town and country planning

The council also confirms by resolution at a full council meeting that it has: 

  • A risk management policy
  • A register of assets
  • Contracts for all members of staff
  • Up-to-date insurance policies that mitigate risks to public money
  • Disciplinary and grievance procedures
  • A policy for training new staff and councillors
  • A record of all training undertaken by staff and councillors in the last year
  • A clerk who has achieved 12 CPD points in the last year