QUALITY GOLD ACHIEVEMENT
Biddulph Town Council has been recognised as an exemplar for best practice having achieved the Quality Gold Award in the Local Council Award Scheme.
The Local Council Award Scheme was established in 2014 by Her Majesty’s Government in partnership with the National Association of Local Councils and the Society of Local Council Clerks.
The scheme was designed to provide a model framework in which local councils are benchmarked for their work using standardised criteria set by the Improvement and Development Board.
The awards recognise those who meet and surpass these expectations after rigorous and thorough peer review.
The Accreditation Panel, an external group of Councillors, Clerks and independent co-ordinators assess each application against the criteria, and if met, will award the following:
- Foundation Award– A council that meets the minimum standards set by HM Government to deliver effectively to their communities. A benchmark for continued development and improvement. It is the Government’s aspiration that all Local Councils reach this award as a minimum standard.
- Quality Award– A council that achieves good practice in governance, community engagement and improvement. A council performing above and beyond legal obligations, while meeting all requirements of the Foundation Award.
- Quality Gold Award– A council at the forefront of best practice and achieves excellence in governance, community leadership and performance management, while constantly seeking opportunities to improve at the cutting edge of their sector. The council must also meet the full criteria for both the Foundation and Quality Awards.
Receiving the Quality Gold Award is an excellent achievement, it’s a recognition of the Council’s commitment and hard work.
The full criteria of what we’ve achieved can be found in the Local Council Award Scheme Guidance on the NALC website:https://www.nalc.gov.uk/our-work/local-council-award-scheme
NALC STAR COUNCIL AWARDS 2022
The Council’s Chief Officer, Sarah Haydon, has also been selected as one of five finalists for NALC’s Clerk of the Year Award.
Sarah Haydon joined Biddulph Town Council as its chief officer in May 2016 and is responsible for overseeing council matters, developing strategy, good governance and managing the council’s staff.
The council has changed significantly. It is growing and ambitious, determined to improve services for the town’s people.
Sarah has professionalised the council, ensuring effective systems, practices, and procedures are in place and developing six key documents underpinning its strategic priorities, including a Climate Change Action Plan.
Sarah’s responsibilities are numerous and varied. She oversees a range of assets and services, including managing the town hall, Biddulph Grange Country Park Visitor Centre, a ‘Bus Hub’, public toilets, burial grounds, allotments, tourism, community events, and grant assistance to local groups. Sarah has also made the town hall and council more accessible.
Sarah has initiated, established and developed relationships with other tiers of local government and the voluntary sector to enhance Biddulph for its residents, workers and visitors.
She has embraced social media, with the council publishing on Facebook and Twitter and expanding its website to share more local information.
Sarah has been instrumental in delivering various projects. She helped to acquire management of various buildings from Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) in 2020, allowing town councillors to ensure their accessibility and smooth running, offering genuine community spaces.
Sarah also secured funds to develop a ‘Pocket Park’, transforming a neglected area. The Town Council matched the funding, and Sarah oversaw the day-to-day management of the improvements. Additionally, she worked with SMDC to identify and plant community orchards. 95 trees were planted across three sites in just one day in 2022, with Sarah instrumental in co-ordinating volunteers.
Finally, Sarah secured funding from Western Power Distribution and Localgiving to support residents experiencing fuel poverty. Council staff received training to provide support and advice. Working with several partners (including Citizens Advice, Support Staffordshire, and Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank), the Council hosted an ‘Energy Café’ event in March 2022.
Sarah has a can-do, enthusiastic and professional approach and is highly respected by her team and councillors, a true advocate for the profession.
Sarah said ‘It’s an honour to be shortlisted for this award. I work with an exceptional team of Officers and Councillors, who put the town’s best interests at the forefront of decision-making. This is a recognition of a team effort and my thanks go to them all’.
The winner will be announced at an online ceremony later this year.