Time flies when you're inspired

It’s that time of year again when we start looking for new contestants and hosts for the Local Government Challenge competition. It seems to come around so quickly – it feels like only yesterday that I was making phone calls and rushing off emails to ensure that everything was in place for the first challenge of the year in Birmingham. But that was eight months ago back in January! How time flies when you’re having fun!

And the Local Government Challenge is fun! Yes, it’s hard work. Yes, the competitors sometimes get it in the neck for not thinking more creatively or working as a team. And yes, the host councils put a lot of time and effort in. However, the rewards are all worth it. Each challenge delivers fresh perspectives, practical solutions to problems and demonstrates local government’s diversity.

First of all, it’s great working on the project team, as they’re a brilliant bunch of people who work hard, but have a sense of humour with it.

Second, it’s brilliant meeting so many talented contestants with the drive, determination and ambition reach the top in local government. Every set of contestants each year have proved they can come up with practical, but innovative ideas and also that they have great capacity and willingness to learn and develop. Our three winners so far have been very different characters, but they all have one important ingredient: a passion for local government.

Third, it’s a real privilege to work directly with a group of people in a council for a couple of months putting a challenge together. I’ve met so many dedicated people who not only work hard in their day to day jobs, but put so much time and effort into helping us make the Local Government Challenge a success. Thank you to all our challenge hosts – we’re really grateful to you for organising such great tasks for our contestants.

The Local Government Challenge is an inspiring and motivating project to be involved in. If I haven’t convinced you to get involved, how about taking the word of this year’s winner instead?

“Would I do it again? Absolutely – it's tough, it makes you take a look at yourself that you perhaps wouldn't otherwise do and it certainly is a challenge. It's also totally unique, rewarding, fun and a great way to see how the sector is trying to do more with less – what better learning is there than that?”

Hannah Rees, Cornwall Council
(Read more from Hannah in her Firstonline blog)

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a Local Government Challenge 2013 contestant, or your authority would like to host a challenge, apply now at www.local.gov.uk/lgchallenge

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