Following the success of the Innovation Awards Showcase: Celebrate, Learn and Share last year, we  have decided to bring this event back on Thursday 26th May 2022, following the Innovation Awards Ceremony on Thursday 19th May 2022.

This is an opportunity for us to showcase the incredible work that the public sector is achieving by working innovatively and collaboratively and to recognise and highlight leading practice. We have received dozens of nominations for our Innovation awards, unfortunately, not every project can win but they all deserve recognition. This year, as in previous years, the level of innovation and collaboration within the entries was inspiring and we are excited to share these achievements with our members.

The Innovation Awards Showcase will be held virtually on Thursday 26th May 2022. Here are just a brief selection of the projects you can expect:

The Scottish Street Gazetteer, The Improvement Service

The Improvement Service will be discussing their project that was nominated for an iStand UK award. This project summarises the development of Scotland’s national Street Gazetteer from conception to delivery, and then to a position of business as usual thereafter. It illustrates why the development of the Street Gazetteer represents a blue-print for collaboration, information-sharing and data-linking. Over the last three years, the Improvement Service has worked alongside all 32 Scottish local authorities, the Office of the Scottish Road Works Commissioner, Transport Scotland and Network Rail to develop and grow Scotland’s national Street Gazetteer.

The Street Gazetteer contains intelligence relating to the ownership, maintenance and composition of the streets within Scotland. It also records attribution that is of interest to those working on the road; capturing features such as bridges, apparatus contained under the road surface and much more.

National Register of Licencing Refusals and Revocations – NR3, NAFN

NAFN’s NR3 initiative was created with the aim to reduce or remove all instances of licences being issued to drivers deemed not fit and proper by providing a national central register where all applications could be checked and cross-referenced. This provides significant benefits to licensing authorities and supports the objectives of safeguarding and consistency whilst enhancing the reputation of local government. Without this approach both objectives would be undermined.

Over the past 25 years as technology has evolved, so has the way in which we use and manage information. NAFN has developed robust processes seeking to limit the risks inherent in the management of data and ensure compliance, and is the benchmark for best practice in information governance. NAFNs central register is crucial in supporting licensing authorities’ duty to ensure only drivers of a suitably high standard are given licences. The initiative, through collaboration, has provided the capability to highlight a potential concern to be investigated further and supports consistency across all licensing authorities. It is instrumental in the creation of a national minimum standard for the ‘fit and proper’ test through inter-local authority engagement and dialogue on the root causes of disqualification. If used effectively, the aim of this initiative is to remove all instances of drivers deemed not fit and proper being permitted licences where appropriate decisions have already been made.

Reservist Model & Workforce Transformation, Wigan Council

The local government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the instrumental role that data and intelligence can play in guiding the delivery of public services. We realise now more than ever the value of our data and intelligence as a strategic asset that we need to harness – informing decision making; improving business processes, helping us to manage our demands, supporting innovation and identifying opportunities to enhance outcomes for local people.

In March 2020, upon declaring an emergency situation due to Covid-19, our civil contingency plans swiftly kicked in and we needed to establish a framework very quickly for delivering, through our workforce, a swift response to the pandemic ensuring that we were able to provide a humanitarian response to our local communities as well as to ensure that critical services could still be delivered to the most vulnerable residents. We were quickly able to capture new data sets linked to workforce availability, skills and experience and preferences for deployment alongside data and intelligence linked to service demand and need against which we could then match resources. This is data that was not held prior to the pandemic and provided a common understanding of the staffing situation of the council.

Through effective staff engagement, we were able to encourage and support staff to step forward to support our deployment response, undertaking activities that they would never be required to do in their day-to-day roles. We managed to continue to deliver all of our critical services, whilst our workforce itself was hit by high levels of Covid infection and self-isolation, whilst continuing to receive positive feedback from the resident survey regarding the service they received. We also worked with partner organisations to understand their needs, working across organisational boundaries to mutually support the wider system.

This data and feedback has now been used to shape our vision for the future of Wigan Council. It will fundamentally change and shape our local government workforce of the future and provide an offer like no other to support our civil contingencies emergency response, but more importantly utilise the skills of our workforce beyond their job role, provide a new employment and development package and make Wigan unique in its offer in local government.

Salt Ayre Leisure Centre Decarbonisation Project, Lancaster City Council

On 30th January 2019 Lancaster City Council declared a climate emergency after councillors unanimously voted to work towards creating a zero-carbon district by 2030. The decision triggered a new approach for the council and challenged officers to think differently about how services could operate and better appreciate the impact each has on the environment.

The following year the council set up a Climate Emergency project team to develop a comprehensive strategy and delivery plan to achieve the council’s net 2030 ambitions. This focused on targeting key CO2 emitters and developing detailed proposals to reduce emissions. In September 2020, the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced £1b of funding for public sector decarbonisation scheme funding and the city council submitted a bid for £6.8M to fund the full scheme at Salt Ayre. In January 2021, the council was informed that it had been successful and was the third highest recipient of PSDS grant funding in the North-West and the single-highest recipient for a district council. Officers have been working at pace with APSE Energy, Unify Group and specialist grid consultants, Roadnight Taylor, to deliver the challenging full scheme by March 2022. Due to the significance and scale, it is anticipated that this single project will reduce the council’s entire carbon footprint from natural gas by as much as 35%, saving in the region of 642 t(CO2e) p/a when combined with the council’s REGO-backed green energy tariff. This enables the leisure centre to achieve carbon neutrality status once the project is complete.

Click here for more information and to sign up for a ticket. We hope to see you on the day!