Awards ceremony recognises City Council staff achievements
Aberdeen City Council has recognised the excellence of its staff with a series of 'Star Awards', which were bestowed on the winners at a special event at the Beach Ballroom.
Judges from the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen Guild of Burgesses and from major public and private sector organisations in the city selected the winners in a range of categories, who were nominated by their colleagues and members of the public.
The winner of the Customer Focus Award was Sharon Robertson, a Building Assistant in facilities operations in Marischal College, the Town House and Frederick Street. The judges said Sharon continually takes on the additional tasks to ensure that other people's working environments are improved and she is always willing to help solve problems or arrange equipment.
Shortlisted in the category were Danestone School Catering Team, led by Cook in Charge Liz Belka with Catering Assistants Rhoda Coutts and Audrey McLeod, and Salomeh Kheyri Rad, Administrative Assistant for Directorate Support in Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure.
The Professionalism Award was won by Cathie McQueen, a Team Manager in Children's Social Work Services' Joint Child Protection Unit. The judges agreed that Cathie ensures that children's safety is a priority throughout her involvement with multiple agencies and that her calm and clear approach to work achieved positive outcomes for children and families in difficult situations.
Shortlisted were Community Safety Manager Neil Carnegie and environmental staff member Neil Ross.
The Professionalism Team Award went to the Environmental Services Management Team, which was recognised for overseeing transformational change in recent years, which has led to an efficient, effective and award-winning service. The service won the APSE national award for parks, open spaces and horticultural services 'Most Improved Performer' award last year.
The Projects Partnerships and Funding Team and the Planning and Sustainable Development Service were shortlisted.
The Respect Award was picked up by the Gypsy/Traveller Liaison Team, comprising Amanda Farquhar, Sandra Wood and Martin Smith. Judges agreed they had worked tirelessly to balance equalities issues, the rights of Gypsy/Travellers, the responsibilities of Aberdeen City Council, and the needs of the settled community. The team works closely with colleagues in the police and Aberdeenshire Council and is often required to come up with immediate solutions to difficult problems.
Shortlisted were Cindy Wright, Support Assistant in the Family and Community Support Team, and Paul Gaunt, a Community Support Worker at Exchequer House.
Winner of the Communication Award was 50+ Events Officer Alice Brooks, who was recognised for her commitment to organising the 50+ Festival, tea dances at the Beach Ballroom, and activities at care homes and sheltered housing. Alice's communication skills were judged to be key to the success of the 50+ programme, which has laid on activities for thousands of people.
Shortlisted for the award were the Waste Aware Team and Carleen Simpson, who works with vulnerable adults at Kaim Court Supported Housing, and Apprentice of the Year was 20-year-old plumber Chris Black 20, who works in Building Services.
A Special Award was presented to the team of 150 officers from a range of services who helped turn the mothballed Braeside School into a fully functioning school in a matter of days to accommodate children affected by the sudden closure of Hamilton School earlier this year.
Legacy Awards were presented to former employees Catherine Taylor, who was a Local Studies Librarian for more than 20 years, Ian Simpson, who was Head Chef at the Beach Ballroom for 40 years, Paul Hannan, former Financial Inclusion Manager and Homeless Manager, and Vi Burnett, who was Cleaning Chargehand at Sunnybank School 35 years.
Aberdeen City Council Chief Executive Valerie Watts said: "I established the Star Awards scheme last year to honour the truly exceptional work which is carried out by our staff members 365 days of the year.
"So much of what we do goes unrecognised by the wider public but the people who benefit directly from our myriad services know that the officers they deal with are dedicated to giving them the best possible service we can provide.
"The Star Awards offers a platform where we can recognise the most exceptional staff of all. I am proud of my colleagues in the Council and I am delighted that we have been able to recognise their dedication and pride in their work."
City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: "Our staff are the organisation's key assets. They keep this great city running by delivering everything from school dinners to social work services, from maintaining our parks to clearing the roads in the depths of winter, from organising festivals and events to running our libraries and providing decent housing.
"I was delighted to be at the event to pay personal tribute for all of the hard work that they do. The City Council is defined by the quality of its employees, who play such a huge part in making this city such a great place to live."
The Star Awards dinner and ceremony at the Beach Ballroom was made possible and fully funded with the kind support of sponsors Xerox UK, MacWilliams Aberdeen Ltd, Stirfresh, Central Taxis Ltd, Bunzl Greenham, Instock and Loomis UK.
Judges were: Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Bob Collier;Aberdeen Council for Voluntary Organisations Chief Executive Joyce Duncan; Fred Dalgarno, Aberdeen Guild of Burgesses Dean of Guild; Scottish Fire and Rescue Service North of Scotland Assistant Chief Officer Robert Scott; North East Scotland College Chief Executive Rob Wallen; Police Scotland Aberdeen Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Adrian Watson; Evening Express editor Alan McCabe; the University of Aberdeen's Prof Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor; Deputy City Council Leader Councillor Marie Boulton; City Council Liberal Democrat Group Leader Councillor Ian Yuill; Tenant and Community Engagement Officer, and a Star Award winner last year, Caroline Souter.