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Wigan Council's award winning combination
Friday 16th November, 2012

Wigan Council's award winning combination
Celebrity Carol Smillie presents the award to Debbie Clarke and Rick Laithwaite from MetroFresh; Trish Moore of sponsors CRB Solutions.

Wigan Council has been picking up gongs left, right and centre recently - quite literally in the case of the Wigan Life Centre which has been recognised by the UK's leading town planning authority in their annual awards.

The state of the art municipal heart of Wigan, with its open-plan design and distinctive glass frontage, was handed the North West regional award for Conservation and Town Centre Regeneration last month by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the largest planning institute in Europe with over 23,000 members.

Judges from the RTPI, which is responsible for maintaining professional standards and advancing the science and art of town, country and spatial planning, found that: “The officers involved were clearly committed to the project and worked hard to keep up the standard of the original vision. The regeneration benefits are significant and the fact that there was an aspiration for a campus style ‘service delivery’ in the town centre is a very good planning solution and has clearly secured significant benefits for that part of Wigan.”

“This achievement is down to everybody who worked so hard to turn the vision into a reality,” says Lord Peter Smith, Leader of Wigan Council. “We have taken two buildings that were at the end of their useful lives and transformed them into something special.

“Through its iconic design and the impressive array of services it offers, the Life Centre is proving to be the standard-bearer in the new approach to public service delivery. I am delighted that it has won a prestigious RTPI award and everyone involved with the project can be justifiably proud.”

Meanwhile, Wigan Council’s school meals provider, MetroFresh was recently named Catering Service Team of the Year by the Association of Public Sector Excellence. The award, presented to Service Manager Debbie Clarke at an event in Glasgow, recognised the commitment shown by MetroFresh to service delivery, partnership collaboration and community initiatives.

Cllr Susan Loudon, cabinet portfolio holder for children and young people, says:
"I am thrilled to learn of their success in the APSE awards. Having seen first hand the work the MetroFresh catering teams do in schools, and indeed after personally sampling the exceptional quality food and first class service in Wigan Town Hall bistro, I can wholehearted add my endorsements to those of the judges.

"The team at MetroFresh are passionate about ensuring school meals provide the healthy and nutritious sustenance required by children and young people, actively encouraging youngsters to adopt healthy eating habits from an early age and enhancing their opportunities for achieving academic success and fulfilling their potential.”

The most recent addition to Wigan Council’s trophy cabinet comes courtesy of the payroll, IT and HR systems teams, who are still basking in the glory of their win at last week’s Payroll World Awards in the Implementation Project Award category.

Held in London, the awards event attracted hundreds of the industry’s finest who met to celebrate the pioneering efforts and innovation of the UK’s payroll profession.

The teams were recognised for their collaboration on the delivery of SWiTch/MidlandHR, a joint project with Stockport and Trafford councils which aims to create efficiencies in some of the council’s back office functions.

Cllr Ged Bretherton, Wigan Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources, says: “Judges clearly recognised that this was an ambitious and complex project which called on partners from various teams across three local authorities to work together in order to achieve significant efficiencies.”

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