Two senior Hartlepool councillors unsuccessful at national awards ceremony

Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher and Coun Stephen Thomas
Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher and Coun Stephen Thomas

Two senior councillors have narrowly missed out on picking up prestigious national awards at a ceremony in London.

Hartlepool Borough Council leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher and Coun Stephen Thomas, chair of the adult services committee, were up for the ‘Leader of the Year’ and ‘Health and Care’ awards respectively at the 2018 Councillor Achievement Awards.

Although the pair missed out, Coun Akers-Belcher said the nominations were a boost for the national profile of the council and recognition of what they have achieved.

The annual awards are run by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) and sponsored by the CCLA, a leading specialist fund manager for local authorities and charities.

Both had previously said they were ‘honoured’ to be named in the final handful of contestants shortlisted in their respective categories at the ceremony at the Guildhall in London on Tuesday night.

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “There were almost 200 nominations for the 2018 Councillor Achievement Awards, so it was a great honour for Councillor Stephen Thomas and me to be among the very small number who were shortlisted.

“Furthermore, the LGiU made a point of saying that the ‘Leader of the Year Award’ – for which I was one of only six people to be shortlisted – was the most highly contested of all the awards, and that it was testimony to the strategic leadership which each of the six had shown.   

“The awards were also further excellent national profile for the many achievements of the council and the town as a whole in recent years.

“Our warmest congratulations go to all the winners.”

The annual awards are the only national ceremony to honour the hard work of councillors from across the country.

The winner in each of the seven categories was chosen by a judging panel, comprising of senior councillors and officers.

Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporting Service