The Chair reported that since the last Council meeting she had attended several events, including attending the Durham University international student welcome hosted at Durham Town Hall, the Festival of Remembrance Concert held at Durham Cathedral and the Remembrance Sunday Service and Parade, again held at Durham Cathedral.
The Chair then informed Council of some recent County Council successes.
A community rail partnership based in Darlington and South Durham had achieved success at the national Community Rail Awards.
Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership, of which Durham County Council was a partner, was recognised for its innovative work engaging communities with their local railway line.
It was a finalist in three categories at the awards, coming in second place for Most Effective Communications Campaign with its Pass on a Smile campaign; third place in the Involving Diverse Groups category with its Our Line Connections; and finalist in the Involving Children and Young People category with Creative Journeys.
A council team had won a national award for its work to help residents save money on their heating and energy bills.
The warm homes team received the National Heating Project of the Year accolade at the 2022 National Energy Efficiency Awards. The accolade recognised the achievements of the team's warm homes campaign which supported low income and fuel poor households by providing grants for new boilers and insulation measures to help lower their energy bills and give them a warmer home.
A member of staff of the Council had claimed a national award for helping to put data at the heart of the digital transformation of adult social care.
Marion Ingleby, Strategic Manager in Adult Social Care, won the Leadership Award category at this year's NHS England Digital and Data Awards.
The Awards recognised the achievements, particularly over the last two years, of individuals who worked within a digital, data, technology or informatics role within health and social care.
Finally, the Council had been recognised for its social work at a national award.
Durham claimed a gold and silver at the Social Worker of the Year Awards, which celebrated individual excellence and outstanding practice among social workers.
Durham won a gold award for Supportive Social Work Employer of the Year, which recognised organisations delivering excellent practice as an employer while also inspiring employees to achieve their best.
Judges commented on the Council’s success in terms of staff training, including its innovative Leadership Academy and academy for newly qualified social workers. They also praised the Council’s commitment to developing an open and supportive culture, staff wellbeing and peer support.
Meanwhile, a silver award for Social Worker of the Year was given to one of Durham’s social work consultants, Nathan Head, who had been described as determined and inspirational.
Having started his career with the Council six years ago as a student social worker, Nathan was recognised for his hugely positive impact on children and young people across County Durham.
The Chair and Council congratulated all staff involved in the achievement of the awards.