North Ayrshire Council has had a successful week with two departments scooping prestigious national awards.
The Streetscene team beat-off competition from across the UK to take the title of Best Street Cleansing and Streetscene Service Team of the Year at the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) Awards. In addition, the Scotland-wide Nancy Ovens Awards for Play saw local Council staff recognised for their work in helping children from the travelling community with play and outdoor activities.
The APSE awards recognise and reward innovation that has resulted in improved levels of service to local communities and people. North Ayrshire’s Streetscene team has delivered efficiency-savings of £1.68m in the last three years while increasing levels of cleanliness by making operations more efficient, educating and engaging young people and working with voluntary and public partners.
Formed in 2011, Streetscene came about following an internal restructuring that saw grounds maintenance, street cleansing and cemeteries staff brought together into a single team. A Council spokesperson explained, “The aim was to provide a more flexible service to the public, while delivering significant savings. The new service was developed following consultation with employees to ensure that they were fully engaged in the process, motivated and focused.”
Head of Physical Environment, Yvonne Baulk said, “I am delighted our Streetscene team has won this acclaimed national award. It reflects the exceptional hard work the team has delivered over the past three years.
“Our innovative approach has brought significant savings and increased public and employee satisfaction and this APSE award goes a long way towards proving how successful the approach has been.”
In the national Nancy Ovens Awards local workers were recognised for their commitment to helping children from the travelling community.
The Council spokesperson said, “We are committed to supporting play and activity for children across the area and are delivering a new Play Strategy designed to support quality, positive play experiences for all.
“As part of this commitment, Play Rangers were appointed to work with children from the travelling community on the Redburn site near Irvine. Staff worked with families to build trust and relationships and the children drew up their own Golden Rules to improve behaviour. A wide range of activities which were child-led, challenging and exciting were developed and considered a success. These included building dens, creating dinosaur lands, painting and drawing, and one of the most popular, ‘getting mawkit and drookit’, with the help of mud and water.
“A playground has been established on the travellers’ site and new opportunities for younger children explored. Among the main benefits have been greater trust between families and the Council, better understanding of the benefits of play and exercise and better interaction with available services for the travelling communities.”
Commenting on the award success, Audrey Sutton, Head of Service (Connected Communities) said, “This is wonderful news for North Ayrshire Council and for the Children’s Play Team, who have worked closely with the travelling community for over seven years. During this time the team has offered activities that help to improve the children’s health and wellbeing. They also recognise the importance of the children’s traveller culture and always encourage discussion and take time to listen to their views.”