St Helens Borough Council has received national recognition for its response to dealing with COVID-19 after bagging a hat-trick of accolades at an awards ceremony last night (11 March).

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Held virtually, the iNetwork Awards are an opportunity to celebrate, learn, and share innovation across the local public sector, and its partner organisations.

St Helens Borough Council beat off some tough competition from public sector organisations from right across the country to win awards in the following categories:

• Transforming & Innovating Public Services Award – for the Ways of Working programme

• Covid-19 Response Recognition Award – for the St Helens Together campaign

• Partner Excellence Award – for the volunteer portal, together with Halton and St Helens VCA and TeamKinetic, as part of the St Helens Together campaign

St Helens Together, the borough’s response to the pandemic, has seen council services work in partnership with Halton & St Helens Voluntary & Community Action, St Helens CCG, Torus and other local partners, to help vulnerable residents and those most in need in our communities.

This includes setting up emergency helplines, running a community hub to deliver food parcels and essential items to the vulnerable, supporting schools, families and children providing food and vouchers, developing a volunteer portal to bring together volunteers with those in need, providing support for homeless people and developing a ‘St Helens is Open’ database to help local businesses to keep trading.

The Ways of Working programme looks to modernise the way the council staff work and transform the council culture, ensuring employees can work flexibly and in an agile way and can shape and influence the direction of the organisation, refresh policies and procedures to support a healthy workplace and support employees to do their jobs more efficiently through a suite of innovative transformation projects.

Speaking of her pride, Kath O’Dwyer, Chief Executive of St Helens Borough Council, said: “It was right and fitting that iNetwork recognised the tremendous effort put in by everyone in the council and our partners, and awarded us these accolades for what we have achieved together.

“This last year has been very tough on all of us and yet staff have continued to step up and deliver. I’m very proud of all that we have achieved in such a short space of time, and anyone who has played their part should be too.  Our partnerships have been strengthened and the joint working to serve our communities has been tremendous.”

Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council, added: “I am so pleased and proud of our staff, partners, the volunteers and everyone who has helped make our St Helens Together ethos the success it is.

“Our borough can be proud of the way we’ve responded to the huge challenges of COVID-19. Local residents, businesses, charities and organisations have come together to offer support to each other with strength and kindness.

“Even before Covid we were already working on plans to modernise the council and to make our approach more collaborative. It was in that spirit that at the start of the pandemic we worked with partners to develop the St Helens Together brand which has now come to encompass the entire approach we want to take in delivering our Borough Strategy.”


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