We know that local councils are at the very heart of their communities; giving neighbourhoods a voice and making people more involved in the decisions that affect them. Over 15 million people (35% of the population) live in the communities served by local councils. Local councils want to serve their communities as best they can and make a real difference to the lives of the people that live there.
The new Local Council Award Scheme has been designed to celebrate the successes of the very best local councils, and to provide a framework to support all local councils to improve and develop to meet their full potential. The scheme offers councils the opportunity to show that they meet the standards set by the sector, assessed by their peers, and to put in place the conditions for continued improvement.
The Award Scheme has been designed to provide the tools and encouragement to those councils at the beginning of their improvement journeys, as well as promoting and recognising councils that are at the cutting edge of the sector. It is only through the sector working together, to share best practice, drive up standards and supporting those who are committed to improving their offer to their communities that individual councils and the sector as a whole will reach its full potential.
Click here to download the Local Council Award Scheme Guide (PDF)
Click here to download the Local Council Award Scheme Guide (Word Doc)
Why should you apply?
There are a range of reasons why a council could benefit from taking part in the award scheme. For those councils who are already confident that they perform to a high standard the scheme provides assurance to the council that it is up-to-date and progressive by the standards set by the sector. For those who wish to improve, it provides a framework to plan and make the first steps. Helping the council improve performance and confidence, with policies in place for continuous development. And for all councils winning the award should be celebration for councillors and officers, as their commitment and hard work is recognised and respected.
The award is a tool that councils can use when working with the local community or other local partners. Giving them confidence that the council is delivering to a national professional standard.
And finally, the scheme will contribute to the national reputation of local councils demonstrating achievements and a commitment to improvement.
How do you apply?
Tip: You do not need to have all the criteria in place at this stage, you are simply registering your interest in taking part in the scheme.
Tip: You can apply for any award level - you don't need to start at Foundation
2. When you have the criteria prepared and in place, confirm this in a public meeting.
3. You should then notify your local accreditation panel co-ordinator and provide the application form including links to online documents. At this stage you will also pay an accreditation fee to your local County Association. This fee depends on the award level you are applying for and the size of your council (full information in the Local Council Award Scheme Guide)
4. Your local panel co-ordinator will contact you with the result of your application.
Full information on the application process can be found in the Local Council Award Scheme Guide.
Which award level should we apply for?
The Foundation Award
The Foundation award is for councils who want to show they meet a set of minimum standards to deliver effectively for their communities. To meet this award the council demonstrates that it has the required documentation and information in place for operating lawfully and according to standard practice. The council also has policies for training for its councillors and officers and so has the foundations for improvement and development in place.
The Foundation award allows you to benchmark your performance as well as challenging you to consider your councils continuing development and improvement.
The Quality Award
The Quality Award demonstrates that a council achieves good practice in governance, community engagement and council improvement.Quality councils go above and beyond their legal obligations, leading their communities and continuously seeking opportunities to improve and develop even further.
To achieve the Quality Award a council demonstrates that it meets all requirements of the Foundation Award and has additional evidence of good governance, effective community engagement and council improvement. Due to the level of this achievement, a council with a Quality Award can also be eligible to use the general power of competence.
The Quality Gold Award
The Quality Gold Award demonstrates that a council is at the forefront of best practice and achieves excellence in governance, community leadership and council development. Quality Gold councils provide leadership for their communities, bring people together, have excellent business planning processes, ensuring value for money as well as constantly seeking new innovations and opportunities to improve. They highlight the very best we, as a sector, can achieve for our communities.
What if I was accredited under the previous Quality Council Scheme?
The free foundation year offered to Quality councils is due to expire in January 2016. To keep an unbroken accreditation history, councils need to take into consideration the following dates:
If councils miss these dates they can still be accredited under the Local Council Award Scheme in the future, however they will have a gap in their accreditation history.
Resources for Accreditation Panels
When you know the results of a council's accreditation then please let us know by completing this form.
You can download and use this template document to help manage the accreditation process and/or to provide feedback to the council you are accrediting.
Accreditation Feedback Template
Which councils have been awarded under the Local Council Award Scheme
Click here to view the list.