National recognition for two Hampshire County Council projects
Thusday, 14 March 2013
Two innovative Hampshire County Council projects were finalists last night at a prestigious national award ceremony in London. (Wednesday 13 March 2013)
The LGC 2013 Awards celebrate the greatest achievements from across local government in England.
'Dancing their way out of trouble into success' told the story of how the Wessex Dance Academy is transforming the lives of some of Hampshire's young people, who have offended or are at risk of offending, have been excluded from mainstream education, or are looked after children. Run in conjunction with Hampshire County Council's Youth Offending Team and a professional dance company, the Academy raises self esteem, builds confidence and shows young people they can succeed through a 12-week intensive dance programme. The Academy also helps graduates return to education, training or employment. Early indications of success are testimony to the transformational power of the arts.
'Connecting even faster and further' showed how Hampshire County Council and Virgin Media Business transformed the UK's first Public Services Network into one of the most ambitious telecommunications projects of its time. The HPSN2 project allows over one thousand public sector organisations across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight shared access to innovative IT services, saving an incredible £1 million every year. As well as saving money, the core network now underpins 15 local authorities, 52 Hampshire Fire and Rescue sites, 800 schools, colleges and voluntary organisations, and allows over 20,000 public sector staff access to information from any site, at any time and from mobile devices on the move.
The Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber, said he was very proud that the authority had received this recognition:
"This double accolade is testimony to the creativity and vision of forward looking staff who work in a very modern business. Hampshire County Council has long been recognised as a top performing local authority and the work showcased at last night's awards ceremony also demonstrates what an exciting place this is to work.
"Transforming the lives of troubled young people is a big task but the Wessex Dance Academy has shown how a unique opportunity and a positive focus for their lives can help them achieve through hard work, dedication and commitment. At the end of their 12 week programme they give a very moving public performance where they dance in front of hundreds of people at a major Hampshire arts venue. It is often the first time that anyone has applauded them or praised them for anything that they have done. For many of them it's a realisation that they can turn their lives around and do better in life.
"I'm equally proud of how our IT systems and know-how are transforming the way we do business in the public sector. HSPN2 has exceeded all expectations in facilitating a more mobile, flexible and modern public service and continues to be a blueprint for national success as a lead for the Government's national PSN programme.
"Whether it's an arts programme for troubled young people or a major IT initiative Hampshire County Council is rightly proud of its national reputation thanks to the dedication and contribution of its staff."