We were proud to have Baroness Sal Brinton, Lib Dem President present the Lib Dem Council Group of the Year Awards at the Local Government Conference in Manchester this weekend. Keep your examples of good practice coming in to firstname.lastname@example.org – you too could be in line for an award in the future!
City of York Liberal Democrat Group – Council Group of the Year Award
- This group bucked the national trend to win 4 seats
- They came back after losing seats in the 2011 elections. Key campaigns included: Keeping a recycling depot open, including a 2,700 strong petition, press work and council motion
- Got the Local Plan revised to deliver housing but protect the Green Belt
- Stopped the closure of a swimming pool
Teignbridge District Council Liberal Democrat Group – Opposition Group of the Year Award
- Gained a seat this May
- Gained almost 6,500 signatures via on-line campaigning, focus leaflets, door to door petitions against a new collection charge proposed by the Conservative administration. It gained 3,952 new email addresses, 441 mobile numbers and 1,180 home phone numbers. This campaign meant the charges were deferred
- Other petition campaigns included to save a minor injuries unit and a library
- Successfully changed their council’s Local Plan, making sure more affordable housing was included and the total number of new homes needed was based on evidence rather than an arbitrary target
- Using scrutiny to question the Police and Crime Commissioner over the closure of police stations
Haringey Council Liberal Democrat Group – Highly Commended Opposition Group of the Year Award
- Successfully challenged plans to move a library and campaigned for a new bus stop and safer road crossing
- Launched a campaign for every school to have a safe crossing. Forced administration to agree to consider each school on a case by case basis
- Campaigned for better children’s services in the borough, having found out that the council’s Childrens Services had the second worst rating from Ofsted inspectors
- Called in Labour’s 3 year budget by persuading the cross party scrutiny committee that the budget was flawed, forcing a special vote at Full Council. First ever successful call-in of a budget in their borough
- Fought Labour’s plans to abolish local area committees and uncovered the fact that Haringey spent £196,000 on legal fees and costs defending a high profile legal case.
Cllr David Noakes and the Southwark Council Liberal Democrat Group – Healthier Communities Award
Despite losses of Councillors in 2014 and the MP this year, the group are continuing to campaign hard – identifying key issues which resonate with core Lib Dem values. A good example of this is the work one of their Councillors, with Lib Dem Group support, has done with his borough’s LGBT and HIV/AIDS awareness charities and groups:
- He worked with the national “Halve It” organisation to halve the number of people diagnosed with late HIV and halve the number of people living with undiagnosed HIV by 2020. Southwark has the second highest HIV prevalence rates in England and Wales.
- He invited a guest speaker from the “Halve it” campaign to speak to a full council meeting and persuaded his Labour and Tory counterparts to support a council motion on the issue, and has been adopted by the council’s Cabinet.
- The Lib Dem Council group ensured there was an integrated Lib Dem parliamentary and local campaign on the issue, gaining coverage in the local paper and LGBT press.
- The council group has also campaigned for the Bakerloo line to be extended through the borough, persuaded the Council to raise the financial threshold before selling council homes, and has secured cross party support over empty/second homes and community mental health services.
Community Champion Award – Adam Dance, South Somerset District Council Liberal Democrat Group
This councillor stood for a County Council two years ago, was the subject of a homophobic bullying campaign by a local Tory and refused to give in when faced with a Tory campaign to get rid of him as Parish Council chair. He stood for the District Council and topped the poll, working with his running mate to win two Conservative seats. If he had not done that there was no way the Lib Dems could be in a position to continue, with the support of Independents, to control their District Council.
Leader’s Award 2015 – Bedford Liberal Democrat Group
They successfully retained the Mayoralty and held 9 council seats.
Putting Liberal Values into practice award – Oldham Liberal Democrat Group
Some great pro-active work over issues like the Peace Pledge, (all signatory councils have to pledge to build peace on the ground in their communities), holding Labour to account over plans to reduce the chance for the opposition to ask questions, and have been campaigning inside the council and outside of it on the issue of food poverty and on benefit sanctions.
Congratulations to all winners!