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Star Awards

Awards Ceremony to Recognise City Council Employee Achievements

Every year there are examples from across the council both of individual members of staff and teams who achieve excellence in what they do. Given the constant demands of the job, there can be a danger that this high quality work can go unremarked.

On Thursday 15 May 2014, the council will take the opportunity to pause and celebrate the excellence that has been displayed by staff over the past year. The Star Awards is a red carpet event at the Beach Ballroom recognising the outstanding contribution made by the council's employees, with the event solely funded via external sponsorship.

The winners across a range of categories will be selected by a panel of esteemed local judges including representatives from major public and private organisations;

  • Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce
  • Aberdeen Council for Voluntary Organisations
  • Aberdeen Guild of Burgesses
  • Fire Scotland
  • North East College
  • Police Scotland
  • The Evening Express
  • The University of Aberdeen.

The winners will be announced on the night of the awards, finalists who have been selected include:

1) Communication Award

  • Alice Brooks – recognised for her commitment and outcomes she achieves in her role as a 50+ Events Officer. Alice's communication skills are commended as the key to the success of the over 50+ programme. The programme includes activities for thousands of people across the city including amongst many others, the 50+ Festival, tea dances at the Beach Ballroom and a range of activities for groups in care homes and sheltered housing. The 50+ Festival has been recognised as a finalist along with T in the Park, Virgin Fireworks & Edinburgh City Council, and the Royal Highland Show for the National Outdoor Events Association 'NOE Scotland Tribute Award' for 2014.
  • Carleen Simpson – works with vulnerable adults at Kaim Court Supported Housing and has been recognised for her contribution to the team, setting up regular meetings for families and services users to foster good working relationships. Carleen also helps to write the supported housing newsletter and has set up a swimming club. She has been commended as a positive influence and motivation which has improved staff morale which in turn has had a influence has made a difference to the lives of the tenants.
  • The Waste Aware Team – The Waste Aware Team has been nominated because of the commitment the team members have to increasing recycling rates and reducing waste produced across the city. The team has brought innovative ideas, constant enthusiasm and a collective and supportive approach to their task. Some example of innovations delivered in the last year are – the refurbishment of the Waste Aware bus using recycled materials and changed the Green Santa campaign to focus on small electrical wastes, working with an external funder, European Recycling Platform (ERP) to recycle a total of 2.18 tonnes of waste electronic and electrical items. These were collected as part of this short campaign in 12 schools to raise awareness of recycling this difficult and hazardous waste stream. The team has also developed a series of books to advise people on waste issues including Love Your Food and the 12 Days of Christmas. Another book detailing up-cycled projects is now in development.

2) Customer Focus Award

  • Danestone School Catering Team – led by Cook in Charge Liz Belka and her two Catering Assistants, Rhoda Coutts and Audrey McLeod. The service which Liz and her team deliver at the school is so highly valued she was recently nominated for the UK 'School Dinner Lady of the Year'.
  • Salomeh Kheyri Rad – nominated for this award as her team felt she 'is a great employee and an asset to the team, as well as a very welcoming and friendly person, goes above and beyond for everyone whether it's Internal or external customer'.
  • Sharon Robertson – is an energetic Building Assistant working within the facilities operations of Marischal College, Town House and Frederick Street. Sharon continually takes on the additional tasks that ensure that other peoples working environment improves; she is always willing to assist with solving problems or arranging equipment and is a valuable member of the team.

3) Professionalism – Individual Award

  • Cathie McQueen – has been put forward by her colleagues as a Team Manager at the Children's Social Work Services, Joint Child Protection Unit. Cathie ensures that children's safety is a priority through her co-ordinated involvement with multiple agencies. Her calm and clear approach to work has been recognised for achieving positive outcomes for children and families in difficult situations.
  • Neil Carnegie – has been commended for his success in community planning in making it real for colleagues and partners. His ability to take strategic ideas and concepts and turn them into practical actions with real benefits is something that was highlighted as a significant strength. Neil has also achieved success through promoting the ambitions of the City Council, the concerns of its citizens and marries them to joint working with key partners to deliver consistently high standards of service.
  • Neil Ross – has been commended for taking the up most pride in his work and described as a hardworking and conscientious member of staff going the extra mile when additional work is required. Neil is an environmental operative working in the Tillydrone, Froghall, Linksfield and Hanover areas of the city. Neil is responsible for litter picking these areas on a regular basis and also drains, cleans and refills the pond at the Town House every Thursday (he was previously also responsible for the upkeep of the pond at St. Nicholas House).

4) Professionalism – Team Award

  • Environmental Services Management Team – are being recognised for the significant and successful transformational change of Environmental Services in recent years which have led to an efficient, effective and award winning service. Through a number of different initiatives, implemented and planned, the service has been able deliver efficiencies, improve service performance and preserve quality. This has been demonstrated by a soft market testing exercise in 2011/12. In 2013 the service won the APSE national award for Parks, open spaces and horticultural services most improved performer in the UK.
  • Projects Partnerships and Funding Team – has been recognised for bringing in a large amount of external funds, drawn down from a variety of sources in order to benefit Aberdeen City and Aberdeen City Council. The team has helped develop numerous projects, across a wide range of council services, bringing in over 52 million over a period of 7 years. The small team builds on existing relationships within council services to deliver projects on a regional, national and international level. The reputation of the team is strong within a wide range of services leading to the constant development of projects.
  • Planning and Sustainable Development Service – has been nominated as an award-winning service that have been externally recognised in 2013 as the Transport Local Authority of the Year at the Scottish Transport Awards (STA) and overall winner in the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning (SAQP). The Service was also a finalist as the Best Green Services Provider at the Scottish Green Awards (SGA) and achieved Customer Service Excellence (CSE) accreditation.

5) Respect Award

  • Cindy Wright – is a Support Assistant in the Family and Community Support Team and has been nominated for going above and beyond her remit, taking on additional responsibilities and challenges at the Williamson Family Resource Centre. Cindy has been described as someone who encourages a culture of friendliness, honesty, integrity and approachability which is apparent to all who use the centre. For example, young people who use the centre make a point of asking for or to see Cindy before they leave. Cindy always has made time to speak with the young people to help their confidence and self-esteem
  • Paul Gaunt – is a Community Support Worker at Exchequer House and has been described as an inspiration in the way he works with clients in an extremely customer focused manner, always putting the needs of the clients at the forefront. Paul works many challenging and complex situations and is described as the voice of reason in the office. Paul has sought to get the best outcomes for clients, advocating on their behalf in the face of adversity
  • The Gypsy/ Traveller Liaison Team – nominated for their work in the community, Amanda Farquhar, Sandra Wood and Martin Smith have worked tirelessly balancing equalities issues as well as ensuring equity between the rights of Gypsies/Travellers, responsibilities of Aberdeen City Council as well as the settled community. The team work closely with colleagues from the police as well as Aberdeenshire Council and are often required to come up with immediate solutions to intractable problems.

There are also a number of special awards including; the Apprentice of the Year Award, the Braeside School Team Award and the Legacy Award.

Many thanks to our kind sponsors for helping us with this event: Xerox UK, MacWilliam Aberdeen Ltd, Stirfresh, Central Taxis Ltd, Bunzl Greenham, Instock and Loomis UK.


Xerox UK


MacWilliam Aberdeen Ltd





Central Taxis Ltd


Bunzl Greenham






Loomis UK