Local Government Oscars


No tears tonight please...

ATTENTION: WE HAVE GOOD NEWS; THE DATE FOR THE POSTING OF THIS BLOG HAS BEEN PUT BACK TO THE 30TH SEPTEMBER!

As some of those in Local Government will know, or will quickly re-remember and panic, today is the closing date for the 2012 LGC awards.

The LGC awards are just part of a burgeoning local government awards industry. Other options for the budding local government Oscar wannabes include the APSEs, the Guardian Public Service Awards, the MJs and a whole variety of sector specific award ceremonies.

Added together and an excellence co-ordinator (a role that existed in an authority of a friend of ours in the mid 2000s and specialised in writing award entries) could find enough work to occupy their whole year.

These awards all tend to follow a similar pattern. Each will have an application process involving a lengthy application form. These application forms will then be assessed by a panel of experts who will establish a shortlist for each of nominee.

Whilst applying is free, if you do get nominated the only way to attend the awards ceremony is to pay for a seat or ten at the evening event. These seats will be aggressively sold by the event organisers and if you do not book your table early you can expect a lot of phone calls.

The event will be glitzy, possibly held in a swanky conference room, and hosted by a big name compere (although the one I went to had a woman from Sky News who I’d never heard of) and will possibly be accompanied by some form of disco at the end.

With the above in mind, it is not hard to see why one of the managers in my department was overheard saying that the awards were a bit of a silly waste of time and probably money.

And yet despite my less than glowing description above I actually think these sort of awards are a good thing. Here’s why:

  • The act of applying forces staff to think about the services they provide. Why are the services particularly unique? What do we do that is innovative? Is this service providing as much value for money as possible? For every question asked the officer completing the application is thinking creatively about what they do and how they could do it better.
  • The staff who are rewarded at these ceremonies don’t necessarily get the opportunity to be recognised for their hard work. Local Government doesn’t have bonuses and many local authorities are poor at recognising hard work. A ceremony like this gives the staff a tangible reward for their hard work (a night out in the glad rags) whilst also giving the staff the confidence boost that being one of the best in the country brings.
  • Recognising good practice and publicising it might just encourage other authorities to copy these ideas. Each local authority is different but there is no local authority which couldn’t benefit from copying the good practice from another authority.

Yes, the award ceremonies cost a few pounds, and the process favours those who can write a good application, but in the greater scheme of things the value well outstrips the cost to the local authority. Get your applications in today.

Welovelocalgovernment is a blog written by UK local government officers. If you have a piece you’d like to submit or any comments you’d like to make please drop us a line at: welovelocalgovernment@gmail.com

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6 Comments on “Local Government Oscars”

  1. DSO Says:

    “The staff who are rewarded at these ceremonies don’t necessarily get the opportunity to be recognised for their hard work.”

    In my previous authority, this continued to be the case. The staff who did the hard work, not to mention writing the submission and attending the interview panel, were not the staff who attended the awards ceremony. That was Corporate Management Team, who had previously been so openly dismissive of staff having applied in the first place that they didn’t even allow a press release to celebrate the good news when the council was shortlisted.


  2. we apply, don’t attend cos we’ve got no money, then win. Now that’s really good for morale.🙂

  3. Tom Phillips Says:

    I have often commented before that these things have the same effect as telling the slave crew rowing their hearts out below decks that the Captain has decided to take up water skiing.

    I was, however, glad to have worked under one boss who was prepared to consider whether the journey was worth the destination, before setting out. For many, I suspect it’s just about having another topical logo on their headed paper.


  4. […] There’s a great post today on this subject on the We Love Local Government blog – Local Government Oscars.  WLLG are broadly in favour of them but unpick the pros and cons with their characteristic deft […]

  5. benlowndes Says:

    Good post. Being recognised by peers for your good work is credible and clear recognition that you are doing a good job. The trick is to pick the right awards to go for (not all of them) and make sure they are winnable. And don’t send 10 people to the do!


  6. […] was lucky enough to go to one of those award ceremonies (back when they were a little more well attended) and the CEO came with us.  Inevitably the wine […]


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