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Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils named UK Council of the Year





Councils in Suffolk have won a prestigious award for their joint vision to innovate public services in the county.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have been named UK Council of the Year at the iESE Public Sector Transformation Awards.

The separate authorities share a single workforce and were praised for successes including the opening of Gateway 14 in Stowmarket, which secured The Range as its first occupier – creating 1,650 jobs in the town.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils’ chief executive Arthur Charvonia, Babergh District Council acting leader Cllr John Ward, Mid Suffolk District Council leader Cllr Andrew Mellen and Chair of iESE Ltd, Cllr Paul Bettison. Picture: Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils.
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils’ chief executive Arthur Charvonia, Babergh District Council acting leader Cllr John Ward, Mid Suffolk District Council leader Cllr Andrew Mellen and Chair of iESE Ltd, Cllr Paul Bettison. Picture: Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils.

Chief Executive Arthur Charvonia said: “This is great recognition for our teams and the work they do to support residents and communities.

“We are driven by wanting to deliver great services and make a positive difference in everything we do across our districts.

“Our teams have shown superb innovation in recent years to make this happen.

Gateway 14 in Stowmarket. Picture: Mark Westley
Gateway 14 in Stowmarket. Picture: Mark Westley

“At the same time, we are always honest about our imperfections – when we don’t get it right, we want to learn and improve.”

The councils’ environmental work to cut carbon emissions was also acknowledged as Babergh and Mid Suffolk were the first rural councils in the UK to start the switch from diesel to hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) for its fleet of bin lorries.

They have also installed hundreds of solar panels at Kingfisher Leisure Centre in Sudbury, Hadleigh Pool and Leisure, Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre and Stradbroke swimming pool and fitness centre.

Cllr John Ward, Babergh District Council acting leader, said: “Our teams show what can be achieved despite the challenging financial circumstances that local authorities face.

The Range Warehouse at Gateway 14. Picture: Mecha Morton
The Range Warehouse at Gateway 14. Picture: Mecha Morton

“Not just supporting residents and offering good services which are great value, but being innovative and helping create vibrant, thriving communities.”

The councils became a dual authority in 2011 and has saved around £2 million a year as a single workforce through increased efficiency and service improvement.

Cllr Andy Mellen, Mid Suffolk District Council leader, added: “This is great recognition for everyone involved – our staff, our councillors, and all the partner organisations that we work with.

“We are always looking for ways to improve the services we offer residents, and to champion Mid Suffolk as a thriving district, so this award is a very welcome encouragement for all that we are doing.”