‘Remarkable’ 18 months marked by top award

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EASTBOURNE Borough Council was this week named the 2011 Council of the Year in a national awards ceremony.

Council officials say news of the award follows a ‘remarkable’ turnaround in the performance of the authority over the last 18 months.

In 2009 the council received the lowest comprehensive area assessment in the South East and a downbeat report from external auditors after an inspection of the annual accounts. Sweeping changes to the council’s senior management structure and working practices soon followed and subsequent independent assessments showed major progress was being made.

In 2010 the council voluntarily invited the Government Office of the South East (GOSE) to undertake a detailed authority wide inspection and were overwhelmed by the unequivocally positive report that followed.

On Tuesday night the authority was awarded Council of the Year by Improvement and Efficiency South East.

The council’s chief executive, Rob Cottrill, said, “While we are not going to get carried away by this award, it is good to have independent experts say we are moving in the right direction.

“The Council of the Year Award is made to the authority that has improved the most over the previous year and it is certainly the case that we have come a long way in a relatively short time.

“I would like to thank all my staff for their hard work and determination to make very positive changes to this authority.

“I am also very grateful for the cross-party support from all councillors for the measures we have taken and their constructive contributions throughout the process.”