Suffolk County Council win CIPFA Award
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01 Dec Suffolk County Council win CIPFA Award

An innovative partnership involving the in-house legal teams of all Suffolk ‘s local authorities scooped a major award last night.

The Doing Business Better Project – a joint initiative between county, borough and district councils in Suffolk – won the Shared Services award at the 2007 Public Servants of the Year Awards ceremony in London.

The project beat off tough competition to win the accolade in the contest organised by Public Finance magazine and backed by the Cabinet Office.The awards, now in their seventh year, celebrate the achievements of the unsung heroes, individuals and teams, working in the public services, who are improving communities across the UK. The judges praised the work of the project in improving services to clients and the community.

The partnership is thought to be the only one of its kind in the UK where county, borough and district level authorities have developed a shared legal service. The collaboration has encouraged creativity and led to efficiency gains through vital knowledge and experience transfer. Each council maintains its own legal experts, but joint procurement of training, resource materials and equipment bring major benefits across the board. This saves money by providing an alternative to using private sector firms and makes best use of in-house legal expertise.

Accepting the Award, project director, Alison Donald, said: “I am proud to accept this award on behalf of all 95 members of our team. The award is national recognition for our achievements and a great way to reward everyone’s contributions and hard work”. Mike Thatcher, Public Finance editor, said: “We warmly congratulate the ‘Doing Business Project’ on their deserved win, and wish them every success in the future. This award is recognition of the vast contribution the team has made to its community, and an example to other public service teams.”

Additional Information

1) There were nine regular categories and three ‘special’ Awards available. Further details about the awards can be found at www.publicservants.org.uk.

2) The judging panel: Sir Ian Carruthers, Chief Executive, NHS South West, Sir Michael Bichard KCB, University of Arts, London, rector Baroness Fritchie DBE, consultant on strategy and leadership Trish Haines, Chief Executive of Reading Borough Council Howell James CBE, Permanent Secretary, Government Communications Baroness Neuberger DBE Ben Page, Chair, Social Research Institute, Ipsos MORI Jon Rouse, Chief Executive, London Borough of Croydon Victor Smart, Head of External Communications, Audit Commission Dame Jo Williams, DBE, Chief Executive, Mencap

3) Public Finance – the business weekly of the public sector, is an editorially independent magazine produced by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). CIPFA is one of the leading professional accountancy bodies in the UK and the only one that specialises in the public services.

Attribute: CIPFA Press Office