Headlines: May 4th, 2005

Another local authority has won recognition for the work it is doing to improve services to customers. Newcastle City Council has reached the finals of the National Business Awards 2005 with its Customer Service Centre being shortlisted in the “Business Improvement Through People” category for the North East Region.The prestigious awards are open to businesses and organisations from all sectors and of any size. The competition is run in five regions with the winners joining other successful entrants in a national final in July. The council is the only local authority to have reached any of the regional finals in this particular category.

As a finalist the council will make a presentation next week to a panel of independent judges, meeting in Leeds. The panel will be looking for the organisation that can best show how its strategies for people development have improved its performance and created a committed motivated and effective workforce. The other finalists in the category are: B Braun Medical, Dodsworth and Work Inc Ltd. The winners of the award categories will be announced at a special ceremony in Manchester in July.

Newcastle City Council’s Executive member for Modernisation, E-Government and Regulation Councillor Anita Lower said being shortlisted demonstrated the authority’s strength in developing people and putting it at the leading edge of councils not only regionally, but nationally.

“Our focus has always been to put the customer at the heart of everything we do. Through a combination of determination, strong leadership, persistence, communication and involvement, we have now changed perceptions within the culture of the entire organisation,” she added.

The Customer Service Centre was the first section within Newcastle City Council to achieve a Charter Mark on its first attempt.