Northants County Council wins national awards

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The marketing team at Northamptonshire County Council has picked up three national awards for a campaign to recruit foster carers and for its handling of the recent financial crisis.

But due to the extreme financial situation at the county authority, staff paid for the rail fares to the gala dinner in London out of their own pockets and the awards organisers waived the ticket fee.

The team won integrated communications campaign of the year at the UK Public Sector Communications Awards and campaign product of the year for their 1,000 shoes campaign. The campaign, which was the brainchild of a long-serving Northamptonshire foster carer, used shoes to create a banner appealing for new fosters.

The PR team also won crisis communications campaign of the year for the handling of the crisis when the authority went into financial meltdown earlier this year.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “The UK Public Sector Communications Awards were free to enter with team members spending their own free time at evenings and weekends putting award entries together.

“The entry for the crisis communications award was to reflect the hard work of team members in communicating what was one of the most significant events in local government in two decades.

“Part of this was based on feedback from the media.

“Two tickets were given to the team free of charge by the award organisers. This is because the team had won three awards but could not afford to attend.

“Not a penny of taxpayers’ money was spent on attending the awards with staff paying out of their own pockets. No claims will be made for this cost either.”

A spokesman for Don’t Panic, which co-organised the award, said the pr team were ‘clear winners’ for the crisis management award.

“The judges commented that this was an incredibly proactive campaign, which was open and honest.

“They were impressed by the robust and model response to the financial crisis and felt that they were clear winners for this award.”