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Herts wins local government ‘Oscars’

Council Leader Robert Ellis receiving the Local Council of the Year Award 2003
Herts council leader Robert Ellis (right) receiving the Local Council of the Year Award 2003
  Image courtesy of Phillip Waterman for
Local Government Chronicle

Herts has been voted Local Council of the Year 2003, just two weeks after coming joint bottom in a Country Life survey of local authorities.

The authority says the award, organised and presented by the Local Government Chronicle, is the equivalent of the local authority Oscars.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said it is particularly sweet coming just days after "the highly dubious Country Life magazine survey in which Hertfordshire was unjustly criticised. This is judgement by experts not amateurs," the spokeperson said.

According to the county council, the independent panel of judges looked, not only at Audit Commission performance figures and charter marks, but also asked service users, local business and voluntary sector leaders for their views about the council.

According to the judges, Hertfordshire has a top-class customer services and an innovative cross-sector approach to social services, bringing together education and children's social services in one department, health and adult social services in another.

"Over the past year Hertfordshire has: launched a major strategic partnership with district partners - Hertfordshire Together; led the public services response to the Potters Bar rail crash and hosted an international conference on managing disasters post-11 September; and launched a £450m alliance to improve roads across the county. All in all a very good year for Hertfordshire," the judges said.

So, who is right, the Local Government Chronicle or Country Life? Is Herts the second worst place to live in England or is it the best run local authority? What do you think? You can discuss this issue in this site’s Forum.

18 March 2003

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