‘Five years of exemplary leadership’ have been nationally-recognised as Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Cllr. Martin Hill OBE, Conservative (Folkingham Rural) is named ‘Leader of the Year’.
Over the past five years, Cllr. Hill’s inspirational leadership has won acclaim from staff, partner organisations and community groups, who acknowledge the council as a driving force behind progressive change. Now, Cllr. Hill has been selected from among a strong field of candidates as Leader of the Year at the Local Government information Unit (LGiU) Awards. The organisers were looking for a leader who listened to the concerns of all councillors, ensuring that competing voices and priorities were heard, while successfully addressing the concerns and aspirations of the local community.
Councillor Martin Hill said:
"I am honoured to accept this award. It is particularly meaningful because of the work the LGiU do themselves in championing local democracy and supporting the work of councils. I must say the shortlist looked particularly daunting, so to be the final recipient was an extremely pleasant surprise.
"There is no doubt that there will be more challenges to face in the future, and I would like to thank my political colleagues and officers at Lincolnshire County Council, without whom this journey would not continue to be possible."Cllr. Hill became Leader of the Council in early 2005 and, supported by a new executive, set about transforming the entire ethos, performance and reputation of the authority. His inclusive approach healed deep divisions within and between political groups, encouraging constructive debate in place of acrimony. Meanwhile, innovative new scrutiny and councillor development arrangements enabled elected members to grow, energising the entire political function.
Among those supporting Cllr. Hill’s nomination was Rt. Rev. Dr. John Saxbee, Bishop of Lincoln, he said:
"Councillor Martin Hill has not only restored the efficiency and effectiveness of Lincolnshire County Council, he has restored its integrity. The way we do things round here is now much more transparent, inclusive and collaborative. The county owes a great debt of gratitude to Martin for his exemplary leadership over the last five years."The Bishop's sentiments were shared by Cllr. David Parsons, Vice Chairman of the Local Government Association, who said:
"Martin Hill is an outstanding council leader. Under his leadership Lincolnshire County Council’s reputation has been transformed, locally, regionally and nationally. I was asked through the IDeA to work with Martin in the early stages of his leadership. I was therefore aware of the challenges he faced and was able to see at first hand how he set about establishing a new direction for the county council and how successful he has been in taking colleagues and partners with him."Following last month’s Comprehensive Area Assessment, in which Lincolnshire County Council was praised for 'performing well', Cllr. Hill is now focusing on 'recession-proofing' plans to protect frontline services, while keeping council tax low, as the effects of the economic downturn continue to bite. Alongside this, he will be leading the development of a Sustainable Community Strategy, reflecting residents’ aspirations for the future.