Council's COVID response celebrated at national awards ceremony
South Ribble Borough Council is delighted to have earned national recognition for the way it has supported local businesses through COVID-19.
The Council's response to the pandemic, in partnership with neighbouring Chorley Council, was celebrated at the prestigious Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) Regulatory Excellence Awards.
Both councils were Highly Commended in the Coronavirus category, which highlighted organisations that have demonstrated excellent regulatory practice during lockdown.
This includes efforts to keep people safe whilst businesses trade, supporting businesses to comply with new regulations, and aiding recovery by helping them reopen.
South Ribble Borough Council and Chorley Council were the only local authorities to be Highly Commended in this category.
Cllr Paul Foster, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: "We are absolutely delighted and incredibly proud that our support for local businesses during the pandemic has been officially recognised at the OPSS Regulatory Excellence Awards.
"Protecting and rebuilding our local economy while not compromising the safety of our residents has been our major priority since the outbreak of COVID-19.
"We have worked tirelessly to ensure local businesses have had the support they have needed to continue to trade in the most extraordinary circumstances, and have been proactive in visiting premises whenever there has been a change of regulations to offer advice and distribute helpful materials such as posters and flow markers.
"We have built positive relationships with our businesses so that they are confident they can contact us for assistance or advice and have worked with them to find ways of achieving compliance without having to resort to enforcement action.
"We have also developed a good working relationship with police, conducting joint visits to licensed premises and sharing intelligence to ensure necessary precautions are being taken to protect the public.
"Our close collaboration with our friends and colleagues at Chorley Council, meanwhile, has ensured a consistency across the two boroughs; providing a level playing field for businesses across both areas and preventing unnecessary confusion, which the police have informed us has also been helpful for them.
"While we take great pride in what we have achieved in these testing times, we know there is also plenty of work ahead of us and we remain fully committed to playing a key and active role in the recovery of our local economy in the months and years to come.
"On behalf of the whole Council, I would like to thank the judging panel for their commendation and would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the dedication of Council colleagues whose hard work has helped keep our local economy going."
The OPSS Regulatory Excellence Awards are open to individuals, teams and organisations of any size, whose work is relevant to operations in the UK. Nominees range from engineers, scientists and technicians to local authorities businesses, trade associations and frontline regulators.
Top honours in the Coronavirus category went to Oxfordshire Coronavirus Regulatory Partners. Also Highly Commended were: Primary Authority Supermarket Health and Safety Covid Expert Panel; Directors of Public Protection Wales; and Environmental Health and Trading Standards Covid19 Expert Officer Group - ETC19.
Awards were also made in four other categories: Better Business For All, Primary Authority, Innovation and Technical, and Product Safety.
This year's ceremony was staged online, with a record audience of more than 250 people able to attend the virtual event.
Paul Scully MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Minister for London, said: "Thank you to all the organisations that have entered this year's Regulatory Excellence Awards and for the cooperation and partnership working you were involved in with the Office for Product Safety and Standards.
"This year it is particularly important we celebrate outstanding regulatory practice in supporting businesses and protecting consumers."
A full list of winners of the OPSS Regulatory Excellence Awards 2021 can be found here.