Cllr Awards 2024: Leader of the Year

Award Guidelines

As the public face of the council, leaders will have strong relationships with community groups and put residents at the heart of what they do. They will be prepared to answer difficult questions and ensure that they are held accountable for decisions that are made.

Leader of the Year

The councillor who wins this category will demonstrate that they have:

  • Exceptional leadership skills that make a real difference in the lives of constituents
  • Development of strong relationships with community groups and prioritization of residents’ needs
  • Willingness to take responsibility for decisions made and answer challenging questions
  • An outstanding commitment to their role as a councillor and leader of the council
  • A clear vision for the council’s priorities that align with the community’s needs and preferences
  • Successful leadership that has helped the council achieve its goals
  • Strong relationships with community groups and council partners
  • A commitment to transparency, accountability, and scrutiny
  • The ability to unite the council, despite differing views and party affiliations, to deliver the best outcomes for the community.

Successful submissions should:

  • provide clear examples of work or projects they have carried out that have benefitted residents (either internal council structures/processes or outward-facing projects);
  • focus on how the leader has gone above and beyond their statutory role;
  • outline how they have effectively managed the council, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis.

Watch the stories of recent winners...

Recycling and regenerating: Teresa O'Neill OBE

Cllr O’Neill of the London Borough of Bexley was selected as Leader of the Year in England and Wales in 2022 for her strong stewardship of Bexley over the past 14 years. She was also recognised for her prominent role in developing the pan-London response to the Covid pandemic.

Regenerating the economy for the future: Tom Beattie

Cllr Beattie of Corby Borough Council was awarded Leader of the Year in 2020.

Mobilising community: Georgia Gould

Cllr Gould of Camden Council was awarded Leader of the Year in 2022 because of her dedication to the residents of Camden and her determination to tackle the inequalities exposed by the pandemic.

Feeling Inspired?

Leaders and elected mayors are integral to the strategic direction of the council – in articulating the vision, setting priorities and overseeing the delivery of their objectives. That’s why we’re showcasing their work here.

Approaching change proactively: John Alexander

Kim Fellows (KF) LGiU speaking to John Alexander (JA), Leader of the Year last year at the 2019 LGIU Scotland & CCLA Councillor Awards. Continue reading…

Online training: Chairing

Improve how you chair online, hybrid and in-person meetings and learn easy-to-implement techniques to manage participation. Master the technology, gain confidence, and hear from others’ experiences! Save your spot now.


The key role of the COSLA Presidency for Scottish local government

COSLA President Cllr Shona Morrison was elected as the 16th President of COSLA in June 2022, becoming the first SNP COSLA President, and the fourth female President of the organisation. Read the interview here.

In Coventry, the future is electric

Coventry is drawing on the innovative flair, determination and ingenuity of their people to continue the march towards environmentally sustainable travel. Read the article by Councillor George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council.

Steps for local leadership to help small businesses thrive

Archie Ratcliffe from the Federation of Small Businesses outlines the role local authorities can take in supporting local businesses and LGIU’s Greg Stride highlights the findings of our recent local government finance survey in relation to local businesses. Read more.

Climate action leadership – Highland Council’s Climate Action Committee

In September 2022, members of the Highland Council agreed to the terms of reference and the formal creation of a new Climate Change Committee. The important role of this Committee is to exemplify the significance of council leadership in tackling climate change. Learn more now.

More stories from previous winners...

Addressing the climate crisis: Susan Aitken

Cllr Aitken of Glasgow City Council won the Leader of the Year award in 2021 for her work amplifying ​​the importance of post-industrial cities and addressing the climate crisis. She was also praised for spearheading a plan for the city that put pedestrians first.

2022 Scotland Leaders of the Year Showcase

To mark the fifth anniversary of Cllr Awards in Scotland, we asked all council leaders, “What does the word ‘Leader’ mean to you?” Here’s what they said.

Partnering for prosperity: Jenny Laing

Cllr Laing of Aberdeen City Council was awarded Leader of the Year in Scotland in 2020.

Thanks to our founding partners, CCLA

This year’s Awards are only possible thanks to the generous support of our founding partners CCLA.

CCLA is a leading specialist fund manager for local authorities and charities. When they began sponsoring the Cllr Awards they had 22 local authority client accounts. Today they have over 700 and this number is growing every month. CCLA are owned by their clients – their mission is to serve the whole sector, regardless of size. | [email protected]