City of Wolverhampton Council boasts several prestigious nominations as finalists in the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) Service Awards 2021, for its outstanding work serving residents across the city.
The APSE awards recognise the best in local government frontline services across the UK. Award winners will be announced on Thursday, September 9, at the APSE Annual Charity Awards Dinner, in aid of Parkinson’s UK, at Birmingham’s ICC.
The Council is a finalist in the following areas:
- Best Collaborative Working initiative (The Lodge Model: Wolverhampton’s Solution to Rough Sleeping). City of Wolverhampton Council recognised the government’s direction to get ‘everyone in’ off the streets during the first lockdown as an unprecedented opportunity to engage with the city’s most vulnerable. 18 organisations partnered under one roof to provide intense support to the guests of a hotel Lodge. With this support, almost all the 161 guests have left for their own long-term accommodation, with only 4 rough sleepers in the area. This model is shared as a best practice solution to homelessness.
- Best Innovation or Demand Management initiative (Using Power BI to Manage a Pandemic Funeral Industry). City of Wolverhampton Council is using data-driven decision making to manage the demand on its Bereavement Services. The spike in deaths from COVID-19 resulted in the crematorium at capacity within the first week of lockdown. As a contingency, a hangar at Birmingham Airport was converted into a mortuary with room for 1,500 bodies. Data collected from over 200 sources is presented visually to decision makers, providing strategic oversight of demand, for efficient and effective service management.
- Best Service Team of the Year: Housing, Construction and Building service (Private Sector Housing). Private Sector Housing have worked with sister-services in regulation to identify existing legislation which can be used in a novel way. Armed with Anti-Social Behaviour Injunctions (ASBIs) and Enterprise Act enforcement orders (EAEOs), rogue landlords’ campaigns of harassment can be stopped immediately, under threat of arrest and even imprisonment. Details of the enforcement actions have been uploaded to the National Anti-Fraud Network, which Private Sector Housing encourages other authorities to view, to shut down criminal landlords’ operations permanently.
- Best Service Team of the Year: Transport and Fleet Maintenance service (Travel Unit Transformation Journey). Two distinct transport services on the brink of collapse have undergone a major transformation journey to overcome daunting operational issues, becoming City of Wolverhampton Council’s Travel Unit. The Travel Unit has provided a more efficient and effective service, saving £900,000 by sharing resources. It has been crucial to the city’s transport infrastructure during the pandemic, particularly in transporting pupils in their support bubbles to schools.
- Best Service Team of the Year: Parks, Grounds & Horticultural service (Allotment Service). The pandemic has resulted in oversubscribed allotment waiting lists across Wolverhampton. The Allotment Service has gone above and beyond to help integrate new gardeners, including refugees and asylum seekers, through production of a holistic handbook with the reopening of a derelict site.
- Best service team of the year - Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Regulatory service (COVID Business Support). City of Wolverhampton Council created an entirely new team, ‘COVID Business Support’ in response to coronavirus regulations. The service launched the first COVID Compliance Scheme in the country, to help support local businesses. The scheme provides the public with reassurance that premises are safe and COVID secure. Over 3,000 premises visits have been undertaken, as well as a series of interactive webinars produced in partnership with Public Health, to help explain guidance, updated regulations and assist with COVID Compliance.
City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said:
“The pandemic has brought untold pressures on everyone and I am extremely proud of how we have responded as a Council. “We have continued to deliver high-quality frontline services and more for local people throughout the crisis as a result of the dedication of the Council’s staff.
“Being shortlisted for several prestigious awards is amazing.
“All departments shortlisted as finalists are filled with staff who care deeply about what they do and have a real sense of pride in their work. The ultimate prize for the city is great staff, delivering day-in-day-out, for the people of Wolverhampton.”
APSE National Chair, Mark Pengelly, said:
"The APSE Annual Service Awards demonstrate the extent to which, right across UK local government, councils are driving forwards on service improvements and placing quality at the heart of what they do. As a local councillor, I know only too well the value of our services to the public. It therefore fills me with enormous pride to see such high levels of ingenuity and dedication throughout the sector, especially in times as testing as these. A huge congratulations to all of the finalists and good luck!"