Headlines: May 16th, 2001

A Headteacher has been named as the first ever Outstanding Public Servant of the Year for his personal achievement in turning around a challenging school in Birmingham.The announcement was made at an awards ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, London LAST NIGHT. The event was organised by Public Finance magazine and backed by CIPFA and the Cabinet Office. Nine other people received recognition for their outstanding contributions to public services.

Preet Sahota, who works at West Heath Junior School, Birmingham inherited a school with rapidly falling numbers, decrepit school buildings and huge financial problems.

Under his leadership, the school has improved and much rebuilding work carried out.

As well as winning the main award of the night, Mr Sahota received the Turn-Round Manager Award for his skill and confidence in tackling the inherent blame culture at the school, fostering team spirit and improving professional standards.

Other winners rewarded for their commitment to public services included a kidney transplant co-ordinator, a school cleaner, and a policeman.

A project officer for the Forestry Commission won the E-Champion Award for his outstanding and imaginative use of information and communications technology, and a Director at the Inland Revenue Accounts Office won the Award for Leadership for his vision in managing a ‘cultural revolution’ at the office he runs in Glasgow.

In all nine award winners were chosen from over 350 entries that fell into six cross-sector categories for innovation, leadership, e-champion, front-line worker, turn-round manager and social inclusion. Sector Impact Awards were also awarded for the best entries from central government, health, social services, education, housing and local authority services.

The award judges said that the calibre of award winners proved that some exceptional and inspiring work was being done by public servants.