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Lambeth’s progress recognised by Guardian national awards

Lambeth Council’s chief executive Derrick Anderson has been shortlisted for a prestigious award organised by the Guardian newspaper.

Mr Anderson, who has been Lambeth’s chief executive since 2006, has been nominated on a shortlist of five in the Public Leader of the Year category in the Guardian Public Service Awards 2012. And in a double for Lambeth, Ade Adetosoye, divisional director, children and young people, has been nominated in the category of Public Servant of the Year.

Mr Anderson has been shortlisted for his part in improving a borough which in 2006 was judged the worst in London, but now is regarded as one of the most forward looking and innovative local authorities in the country, and was recently judged to be the only council in England to score outstanding ratings for all three of its key services for vulnerable children – child protection, adoption and children in care – making Lambeth the best authority in the country for looking after vulnerable children.

During Mr Anderson’s time as chief executive, Lambeth has also become renowned for providing value for money and financial stability, which has enabled the council to protect front line services in the face of government cuts of a third, while freezing council tax for residents every year for the last four years.

The Public Services Awards set out to recognise and reward excellence in public services and include nominations from central government, local authorities, the voluntary sector, social enterprises and the private sector. Others in Mr Anderson’s category include Sir Bob Kerslake, head of the government civil service, and Karyn McCluskey, director of the Scottish violence reduction unit.

Councillor Steve Reed, who became leader of Lambeth Council in 2006 a few weeks after Mr Anderson’s appointment, said: “Derrick’s nomination is richly deserved. The last six years have seen Lambeth turn around from being a council that was performing poorly, to one that is judged to be outstanding in a number of areas. We’re committed to delivering excellence across all our services and becoming the country’s first cooperative council which will give residents the power to improve council services.

“The decision by the Guardian to shortlist Derrick Anderson is recognition of the real progress that has been made in Lambeth and the leadership which has made that happen.”

The winner will be decided by a public vote and people can vote until Friday October 26th by visiting:

http://publicleaderoftheyear.guardianprofessional.co.uk/JudgesNomination

Former social worker Ade Adetosoye, divisional director for specialist services in the council’s Children and Young People’s department, joined Lambeth in 2006, and has been nominated for the major role he has played in making Lambeth’s services to vulnerable children the best in the country.

Services to the most vulnerable residents have gone from strength to strength over the past few years.

Mr Adetosoye’s leadership has helped improve performance so that in all three key services for vulnerable children, adoption, child protection and children in care, the council is rated as ‘outstanding’ – the only council in the country to be rated outstanding in all these areas.

Councillor Rachel Heywood, Lambeth’s cabinet member for children and families, said: “To be the best council in the country for supporting vulnerable children is an amazing achievement for all the dedicated staff whose work often goes on behind the scenes, and while Ade is modest and will point to the fact it has been a team effort, his outstanding leadership in fostering a strong team spirit has been one of the key factors in turning around performance.”

To vote visit: http://publicservantoftheyear.guardianprofessional.co.uk/JudgesNomination

The awards will be held on November 10th where the winners will be announced by author and broadcaster Andrew Rawnsley.

Ends

What the Guardian said about Derrick Anderson…

Derrick Anderson Chief executive, Lambeth council:

‘Lambeth council praised for care of vulnerable children’. That recent headline is the kind of thing that makes Derrick Anderson, the chief executive of Lambeth council, very proud. It’s been quite a turnaround for a borough that used to attract quite different kinds of headlines and that, a mere six years ago, when Anderson became the chief executive, was judged the worst council in London. ‘I think the highlights since I have been chief executive have been very much about challenging the wider perceptions of what Lambeth council was about, as being historically the poor performing, basket case of local government to one which is forward thinking, with innovative changes to services, providing quality outcomes to our citizens out there,’ says Anderson, who was awarded a CBE in 2003 for services to local government. ‘Look, for example, at our outstanding position with regard to our children’s services, which were a failing service 10 years ago. Look at the scale of the reductions that we’ve achieved over the past years – but also look at what citizens are saying about value for money. Year on year, residents say the council provides better value. It is increasing, when in many authorities, it is going the other way.’ Anderson, the only BME chief executive of a London borough, has 25 years’ management experience in local government and under his leadership, Lambeth has made huge changes in its approach to services. ‘In my previous role in Wolverhampton, there were about 14,000 staff for a roughly equivalent population to Lambeth, where we have about 3,000 staff,’ he points out. Lambeth now runs much of its operations via arms length bodies/contracts – but has also pledged to become a ‘John Lewis’ type council, with citizens involved in services. ‘Two years ago, someone said the most moving thing. When I arrived in Lambeth in 2006 the organisation was going in the right direction, but was heavily dependent on command and control management tactics. Since then, they went on to say, I had made it a more human and humane organisation,’ says Anderson. ‘People behave in a way they see their leaders behave. Even at a very simple level, I try to be respectful to all my staff.”

What the Guardian said about Ade Adetosoye… Ade Adetosoye Divisional director for specialist services, London borough of Lambeth.

When Ade Adetosoye, 42, joined Lambeth Council back in 2006, the council’s record of helping vulnerable children was a poor one. It was only just improving after being put in special measures a few years earlier – when it had been judged to be among the worst performers for children’s services nationally. Since then, the turnaround has been dramatic. Lambeth is now the only council in England to score outstanding ratings for all three of its key services – child protection, adoption and children in care – making it the best authority in the country for looking after vulnerable children. Adetosoye, a former social worker, is passionate about the public service ethos. ‘To help to improve outcomes for children in Lambeth is a privilege and gets me motivated every day,’ he says. Concrete measures put in place since he joined the authority include a reduction in the over-reliance on agency staff, with agency numbers down from 42% to under 5%, and a focus on training and development opportunities for staff. Social workers have seen their caseloads made more manageable and there is also an increased emphasis on contract monitoring, quality assurance and strong partnership arrangements with other agencies. But perhaps most importantly Adetosoye believes in fostering a strong team spirit, so much so that he describes working there as being like a family. ‘It’s a collective leadership whereby social workers have a voice and I really mean that. Gone are the days of management saying to staff this is what you will do,’ he says. ‘We share a sense of purpose. There are 472 members of staff and what we have tried to do is to get every one of them to really understand how what it is they do contributes. In the private sector people can go into work knowing they are there to make money but in the public sector the narrative for a period of time wasn’t very clear. So one of the things we have focused on is that for us it’s all about achieving good outcomes and results for the children of Lambeth.’ He believes being shortlisted for the award is an opportunity to celebrate that positive public sector spirit. He says: ‘Service to our citizens and residents is such a privilege.’

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