Somerset County Council employee wins in the Local Authority Challenge

A Somerset County Council accountant is one of the winners in a regional challenge which put local authorities through their paces.

This first ever Local Authority Challenge was organised by South West Councils to give local authority employees the experience of what it is like to run a Council under extreme pressure.  During the day they had to deal with a number of hypothetical crises including the sale of poisonous pigeon pie and council leaders getting caught racing each other down the motorway.

Somerset County Council’s team was the fictional district council of ‘Swafford 4’. The team was made up of Paul Griffin (Senior Accountant), Pam Pursley (Principal Risk Officer), Nathan Johnson (Contracts and Performance Officer), Paul Nation (Senior Bridge Engineer) and Guy Robinson (Senior Planning Policy Officer), all of whom are participating in Somerset County Council’s ‘Future Managers Programme’, a training programme to prepare staff for senior management.

Paul Griffin from Somerset County Council was awarded the prize for Best Chief Executive Officer thanks to his fantastic leadership of his team during the day.

During the day’s scenarios Swafford 4 briefed a fictional UKIP leader, held meetings with potential partners and presented to a Scrutiny Committee on measures to cut costs, support growth and innovate through partnership working.  The day culminated for them with the submission of their Recovery Plan, summarising key messages in a readable format with pictures and a map of Swafford depicting plans for agreed investment in road infrastructure, coastal regeneration and an enterprise zone.

This was a unique learning opportunity.  Local authorities are expected to develop innovative partnership solutions to both save money and deliver better local services. This challenge was about attendees experiencing partnership working under pressure.

Leader of the Council, Cllr John Osman said: “I am delighted that the first Local Authority Challenge – South West was such a success and would like to congratulate Paul Griffin for his impressive contribution.”

“Although the scenarios and roles played during the event were fictional this has been a fantastic opportunity for our staff members from a variety of areas and backgrounds to showcase their unique skills and talents, while learning invaluable tools for partnership working that could prove essential for the future.”