Councillor wins second nomination for top award

A LEADING Thurrock councillor has been nominated for a top national award for his efforts in transforming the borough’s health, education and social services.

Recent years have been extremely turbulent for both education and health – with plans by the authority in both sectors often subject to detailed scrutiny and frequent criticism.

And at the helm of many of those polices has been Conservative Homesteads ward councillor and cabinet member James Halden.

In particular he has spearheaded the Conservative support for the closure of Orsett Hospital in favour of the creation of new integrated medical health centres across the borough. And he has never been far from the limelight in education – which has seen many areas of controversy, not least over the provision of school places.

Those efforts have now been acknowledged with news that he has been shortlisted for the 2019 Councillor Achievement Awards for Innovation and Service Transformation – the second time he has been shortlisted.

This year marks the tenth year that the awards have been showcasing the achievements of councillors across England and Wales. The awards, organised by the Local Government information Unit (LGiU), are the only national ceremony to celebrate the work of councillors.

Winners will be announced at the Cllr Achievement Awards ceremony taking place on Tuesday, 5 November at the Royal Horseguards Hotel in Westminster.

Thurrock Council has a record of achievement in the awards. Last year Cllr Shane Hebb was nominated and previous nominees, as well as Cllr Halden, have included Cllrs Sue Little (winner in the Health and Care award category in 2017) and former councillor Yash Gupta was acclaimed Community Champion of the year in 2010.