Council Group of the Year Awards


Lib Dem group winners announced

LGA Lib Dems have awarded their Council Group of the Year Awards to recognise good practice and encourage other groups to do likewise.

Green Campaigning Council Group of the Year

Winner - The Lib Dem Group on Calderdale Council.

They undertook a scrutiny review into the Green Economy in Calderdale. They used the evidence gained to secure a £1.2 million affordable warmth insulation scheme in the 2015/16 budget and to secure a 20% cut in the Council's electricity consumption. You don't need to be the controlling group on the council to get things done!

Runner up:

The Lib Dem Group on Colchester Borough Council

This Lib Dem Council has installed solar panels on over 40% of its housing stock, and are the first council to also fit storage batteries on some of these properties increasing the savings to tenants from the £150 per annum currently achieved. They have committed to have charging points for electric cars installed as standard in new properties in the borough. They used the Better Bus fund to retrofit pollution reduction equipment into buses. The Mayor has even used a civic bike to get to events this year.

Opposition Group of the Year

The Liberal Democrat Group on Leicestershire County Council

When they learned of possible cuts to their fire service, this group took action both in the council chamber, at the fire authority and campaigned with the local community to stop fire station closures and save most of the fire engines that had been under threat.

Runner up:

Peterborough Council Liberal Democrat Group

  • At the 2016 elections, they increased their group numbers by 75%, moving from 4 city councillors to 7, which is the highest ever in their 28 year history.
  • Replaced UKIP as the third largest political group on the Council behind the Tories (31) and Labour (14).
  • Lib Dems now have all the councillors for two of the more prominent wards in the city, Gunthorpe and the Paston and Walton ward.
  • The Liberal Democrat group on Peterborough City Council have campaigned, petitioned, put forward motions and asked questions, more than any other opposition group over the last two years.
  • Successfully campaigned to abolish the Councils Your Peterborough magazine saving hundreds of thousands of £s a year.
  • Called for increased and extended local bus services, this has now happened.
  • Called for the council to encourage lease farm owners to stop using Neonicotinoids to help save bee population (this now happens thanks mainly to EU).
  • Demanded senior officer salaries should be published on-line.
  • Called for FREE wi-fi throughout the City's libraries.
  • Called for Social Workers to receive increased salaries.
  • Their councillors have continue to produce regular FOCUS newsletters hand delivered to each and every home, hold monthly ward surgeries, undertake resident surveys

Community Champion of the Year (3 awards)

Cllr Chris Hogg

This councillor is a member of South Lakeland District Council – an authority which already has an excellent record due to its hard working Liberal Democrat group. This councillor donated a kidney to his wife, Rachael in a successful operation just before Valentine's Day. He has used his personal example to help establish an Organ Donor scheme in Kendal and encourage other local people to sign up to be organ donors. They have increased organ donors in Kendal by 70%.

Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst – Hertfordshire County Council

The second goes to a councillor who made a multi national company withdraw a controversial planning application in Watford, working with local residents and campaigners, the Lib Dem Borough council and his position as a County Councillor to ensure the plan did not get revived at a later point.

Cllr Jeanette Sunderland and the Bradford Liberal Democrat Group

The third award goes to a councillor who was faced with 9 out of local 14 primary schools requiring improvement and a local secondary school that had been in and out of special measures for 5 years. Taking a Liberal Democrat approach a Community Ambition Project was framed which uses community based assets – people, organisations and property to help raise the educational achievement of children and young people in the area.

Lifetime achievement Award

Cllr Paul Tilsley – Birmingham  City Council

This year's award goes to a local councillor who was elected a Liberal Councillor in 1968 onto Birmingham City Council. After a 12 year spell as a West Midlands County Councillor, he was re-elected to the City Council in 1988 and spent 7 years as this council's Deputy Leader. He has also played a key role nationally in the party, serving on the Federal Conference Committee and within the LGA Liberal Democrat Group. 

Council Group of the Year – Hull City Council Liberal Democrat Group

This group has maintained a strong presence on the Council between 2011 and 2016. Last year saw no net loss, and this year saw strong results, with a net gain of 2 seats and significant increases in many wards. It is now neck and neck electorally between Lib Dems and Labour.

Campaigns have included:

  • to keep open an Adult Education Centre, 
  • protecting the City's heritage, 
  • for the Living Wage to be introduced, 
  • for the re-instatement of a bus service,
  • against multi-million pound social service cuts
  • launching the "People's Questions" during council meetings

Runner Up:

Maidstone Borough Council

  • They abolished the Cabinet and Scrutiny System and to return to a Committee System in Spring 2015.
  • In May 2015 they successfully defended their position and increased their Councilors from 19 to 20 in very difficult campaigning circumstances and obtained the Leadership of the Council.
  • In the following months they used the new Committee System to secure the submission of a Local Plan for examination, after it had been delayed for 7 years without any outcome under the Conservative led Cabinet. Other highlights include securing the Council's support for introducing 20 MPH speed limits in residential areas and insisting that the Council prepares a proper Low Emissions Strategy.
  • They also prepared an Integrated Transport Strategy that will help reduce the reliance on the car, and promote more sustainable transport and have brought forward a walking and cycling strategy. On the practical side work funded by the Local Growth Fund has already commenced on the major new cycle route along the River Medway corridor.  
  • Additionally they have been rebuilding our links with Parish Councils and the voluntary sector, which had been damaged by the previous administration. Indeed many consultative links and joint meetings had been abolished, or the Council had simply stopped attending meetings of important partnerships across a large area of public life.
  • They have worked with Parish Councils and Community Groups to bring forward their first set of Neighbourhood Plans.
  • In May 2016 they successfully defended all of our seats and gained 2 more from the Conservatives, taking their overall numbers up to 22 out of 55. This enabled the group to again secure the Leadership of the Council, with an increased majority.

Full list was as follows:

Green Council Group of the Year - winner Calderdale, runner up Colchester
Opposition Council Group of the Year - winner Leicestershire, runner up Peterborough 
Council Group of the Year - Hull City Council, runner up Maidstone
Community Champions of the Year - 3 people:
Cllr Chris Hogg - South Lakeland
Cllr Stephen Giles Medhurst - Hertfordshire
Cllr Jeanette Sunderland - Bradford
Lifetime achievement award - Cllr Paul Tilsley, Birmingham

12 July 2016