Cheshire West and Chester Council has been honoured in the prestigious Local Government Chronicle Council of the Year award.
Having reached a shortlist of five for the coveted national title, the authority was Highly Commended by judges in a category which was won by Glasgow City Council.
And it wasn’t Cheshire West’s only success of the evening – the council also scooped the Environment award for its innovative campaign to improve students’ attitudes to waste and recycling.
The LGC Awards are recognised as one of the most prestigious events in the local government calendar – and the 2015 awards attracted entries from a record 200 organisations.
Council leader Mike Jones said: “Being recognised as the second best Council in the UK is a truly magnificent achievement.
“The judges made it clear they were looking for excellence and innovation, the delivery of quality outcomes and community leadership, and the ability to offer learning to other councils.
“For an authority that is only six years old to be recognised in this way is an enormous credit to our progress, and crucially, the hard work and dedication of our staff.”
Cllr Jones added: “I would also like to congratulate our Waste Collection Team for their success in the Environment award.
“The judges praised it as an extremely impressive scheme, presented with energy and enthusiasm, which could easily be rolled out to other local authorities. The team should be very proud of their achievement.”
CWaC’s entry in the Council of the Year award was based on its achievements in securing better results for residents through investing in prevention, supporting economic growth and enabling local communities to solve local problems.
The rigorous judging process involved a visit by a panel of senior and influential figures from the public sector to the Council last month, and a presentation in London given by Cllr Jones and strategic director Charlie Seward.
The authority’s second success of the evening – the Environment award - was for the Chester Student Communication Campaign devised by its waste collection team.
The campaign aimed to improve students’ attitudes to waste and recycling through innovative communications designed to ensure all students were equipped with the tools to fully participate.
The campaign boosted recycling levels in the student area to 51% and resulted in an overall improvement in cleanliness.
As well as the environment category, CWaC was shortlisted for a further six LGC awards.
Speaking at the ceremony, which took place at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, LGC editor Nick Golding said: “It is vital that we celebrate the best of local government, not least as the talent and innovation of council officers and Councillors is often not recognised to the extent it should be.
“The recipients of the awards are the people doing the most to improve services at a time resources are constrained. We should thank them for their great work.”
During the 2013/14 financial year, CWaC won 18 awards, including seven Green Flag awards, and were shortlisted or commended in 22 further awards.