West Sussex County Council awards celebrate dedication

The winners at West Sussex County Council's 2019 awards. Picture: Kevin Shipp
The winners at West Sussex County Council's 2019 awards. Picture: Kevin Shipp

The dedication and commitment of council staff has been celebrated an an annual awards event.

West Sussex County Council recognised numerous examples of excellent public service at Chichester College on Thursday.

Steve Pearce, the winner of the Customer-centred award, with acting chief executive Lee Harris, left. Picture: Kevin Shipp

Steve Pearce, the winner of the Customer-centred award, with acting chief executive Lee Harris, left. Picture: Kevin Shipp

Twenty-four staff members picked up awards. Among them was Steve Pearce, a retained firefighter who led a team attending a road traffic accident in the Witterings, where a vehicle’s engine was on fire and was entering the passenger compartment.

Steve selflessly placed himself, as a human blanket, on top of the casualty to protect them, giving them a chance of surviving the accident without additional complications from burns.

Steve was unable to attend as he was trekking to the base camp of Everest for a charitable cause. The picture of him was taken at a quarterly awards ceremony in October, before he was crowned overall winner last week. His award was accepted on his behalf by his firefighter colleague Marvin Smith.

Other winners were Kelly Grant and Paula White, two of the county’s social workers, who picked up the Trust and Support award for fantastic partnership working to support a child who was finding it difficult to go to school.

Claire Hayes won the manager of the year award. Picture: Kevin Shipp

Claire Hayes won the manager of the year award. Picture: Kevin Shipp

Working with school colleagues, they helped to put together a plan to get the child feeling more positive about attending. Thanks to their work, the child now enjoys school every day and is achieving educationally.

A collaboration between resourcing, HR specialist services and communications teams, made up of nine employees, took the award for ‘Team of the Year’, having worked together to reduce the vacancy gap of social workers in Children’s Services. The team worked relentlessly through delivering networking events, attending careers fairs and collaborating on media recruitment campaigns to bring the figure down from 18.5 per cent in February, 2019, to just 1.8 per cent as of October.

This was the second year the awards event has taken place and it was funded by the council’s private sector corporate partners.

Social worker Kelly Grant, one of the winners of the Trust and Support award said: “I’m overwhelmed. It makes me feel more valued and that the work and effort we put in, which is really difficult sometimes day-to-day, is actually important for other people.”

Janie Reeve won the Special Recognition award for her empathy and dedication in supporting vulnerable adults in the community, to help them achieve their goals and ambitions whilst ensuring they become fully independent.

She said: “It’s just an incentive to keep going. You know you’re in this job because you care and it’s just nice to be recognised for that.”

Lee Harris, the council’s acting chief executive, said: “The dedication and commitment of our staff and the work they do for the residents of the county – of all ages and across many aspects of their lives – often goes unnoticed.

“These awards are so important in recognising what really fabulous work goes on, and an opportunity to say thank you for the invaluable jobs they do day-in and day out for our communities.

“These awards represent the values all our staff strive to embody and I know choosing just a few winners was really hard. These staff in particular have gone above and beyond to serve residents and put them at the centre of all they do.”

All award winners were presented with a trophy and certificate at the awards ceremony. Staff were nominated for the awards by their colleagues at the county council and the winners were chosen by the senior management team.

The event was fully subsidised through sponsorship donations from the following corporate partners: PwC, Capita, Biffa, Willmott Dixon, NRS Healthcare, Salary Finance, and Penna.

The winners were: Customer Centred, Steve Pearce; Genuinely Valued, Sam Maslen; Honest & Realistic, Sarah Bazen; Listen & Act Upon, Ginny Morphy; Trust & Support, Kelly Grant and Paula White; Idea of the Year, Daniel MacIntyre, Libby Hill, Moira Jones, Kate Birrell and Edward Smith; Manager of the Year, Claire Hayes; Newcomer of the Year, Sue Manby-Clarke; Partnership Working of the Year, Karen Pirks; Special Recognition, Janie Reeve; Team of the Year, resourcing, HR specialist services and communications (Cross Functional Team).