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2019 National Awards for Local Government Submission Guidelines

About the National Awards for Local Government

The National Awards for Local Government is an annual celebration of Australian local government achievements. The Awards spotlight innovative and resourceful solutions that local governments have implemented to make a difference within their local communities. Each year the Awards focus on local government projects that are relevant to the national agenda.

The Australian Government works together with the states, territories and local governments to improve economic growth and enhance productivity, build jobs and opportunities that strengthen the national economy and enable local communities to manage their futures, including providing essential services and developing effective planning initiatives.

Local governments play an important leadership role in identifying regional strengths and working collaboratively to deliver projects that create jobs and develop regional economies for the benefit of their communities and the nation.

The Awards honour the important role of local governments in delivering targeted quality services to Australians in urban and regional communities. The Awards celebrate local government projects that demonstrate leading practice, deliver better outcomes for communities, have the potential to be rolled out across the country and make a meaningful difference.

Local governments are invited to provide entry submissions about projects that contribute to building a stronger more productive and diverse economy and are delivering better services at the local community level.

The Awards are administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities with the support of key sponsors.

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Key dates

Entries open 21 January 2019
Entries close 1 March 2019
Category Judging 8 March to 5 April 2019
Category winners announced Mid April 2019
National judging—Canberra 1 May 2019
Category Awards and National Award presentation events, Canberra 18 June 2019

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Who can enter

The Awards are open to all Australian elected local government organisations (councils, shires and other recognised organisations that provide direct services to Australian communities).

  • The primary entrant must be a local government organisation.
  • Where a project involves collaboration with other councils, one council may enter as the primary entrant and specify collaborating councils on its entry form.
  • Councils that are involved in collaborative projects that are carried out in partnership with other organisations, or that receive funding from other bodies (including Commonwealth bodies) may apply. In this instance, the primary entrant must be a council and must show in its submission that it was an active partner in the project.
  • Local governments that are under administration for any reason other than amalgamation are deemed ineligible to enter the Awards.

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Award Categories

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Why local governments should enter

The Awards honour and reward local governments for their hard work benefiting local communities. The Awards celebrate and raise awareness of successful local government projects and promote networks and collaboration between local government organisations.

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How to enter

Award entries must be submitted using the online entry form available at the Awards web page. Please note the online entry requirements for submissions.

It is recommended that you prepare your submission offline in a Word document and copy and paste into the online entry form.

  • In preparing your submission, ensure you have referred to the Submission Guidelines (this document) and the appropriate Award Category Factsheet.
  • For all categories you are required to provide a project overview at point 1 of the Assessment Criteria in the online entry system.
  • A 300-word limit applies to the Project Overview and each of the four criterion.
  • Short attachments are permitted (10-page limit on attachments).
  • Links to multimedia can be included in the submission or submission attachments.

Submissions for the 2019 Awards will be accepted from 21 January 2019 until midnight 1 March 2019.
No late submissions will be accepted.

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Further Information

Further information is available from the Awards Secretariat at the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities.

Email: Awards@infrastructure.gov.au.
Phone:  02 6274 6922

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Assessment criteria

Your application can be about large or small projects, but most importantly you will need to show how the work you are doing is ground-breaking, delivering best value, and securing real improvement for your community. A competitive application will have addressed each of the following criteria and have its claims substantiated with evidence.

The criteria used to assess and judge the submissions are common to all projects. For each project, judges will focus on the following four criteria:

1. Why this project?

  • What issue/challenge is the project addressing?
  • How did the organisation know these issues/challenges existed?
  • What kind of consultation took place?
  • How does this project support the organisation's goals and local priorities?
  • How is it consistent with broader strategic goals and community aspirations?
  • What would success look like, in the context of this project?

The panel will look for:

  • clear evidence of the justification for the project
  • evidence of how community engagement/consultation led to or supported the development of the project
  • a vision of what it has set out to achieve and what success for this project will look like
  • what is different about the project
  • relevant research, evaluation or benchmarking used to inform the project
  • the key steps or targets that the project sets out to achieve
  • an explanation of how the project is meeting financial, service demand or other challenges, using new ideas or ways of working

2. How will it be delivered?

  • What is the operational structure of the project?
  • How is the project financially sustainable?
  • In what ways does the project focus on the right people and communities?
  • How the project managers deal, or plan to deal, with barriers?
  • Describe the project's adaptability to changing circumstances
  • How do the target project outcomes lead to improving the lives of the community or stakeholders?
  • What are the evaluation processes in place to ensure the project continues to improve over time?

The panel will look for

  • a clear plan for the structure and delivery of the project
  • demonstrating how the plan fits within the broader organisational structure
  • the involvement of the community including service users, staff or partners throughout implementation
  • examples of any opportunities exploited or barriers overcome
  • evidence of the project's adaptability or a plan to be flexible if required
  • the extent to which learning and measurement is leading to further improvement

3. Is it leading practice?

  • How is this project demonstrating leadership and innovation in its field?
  • What parts of this project, are transferrable or translatable to other organisations or situations?
  • What is the plan to share this project or its learnings to other parties or organisations?
  • How is the project helping prepare for the future in affordable, creative and sustainable ways?

The panel will look for

  • originality/uniqueness of the project, and the creative approaches and strategies used
  • any broader research demonstrating why this particular approach was chosen
  • why the project is delivering, or will deliver, better outcomes for the future compared with conventional approaches
  • work being undertaken to help other councils or organisations learn about the project

4. What is the impact?

  • What impact has the project already had, or is set to make in future?
  • How will the project's achievements be assessed/measured?
  • If the project is fully operational, has it achieved what it was intended to do?
  • If still early in the project's life, what are impacts expected to be?

The panel will look for

  • a clear breakdown of the impacts (actual or projected) of the project, including peripheral or unanticipated impacts, such as on the broader organisation or the community at large
  • results which are positive and improving, or consistently excellent, with evidence of leading performance in your field
  • the assessment process used to determine the projects impacts
  • the plan to utilise those assessments to support ongoing improvements
  • the extent to which results have been emulated by other organisations or partners, or where interest has been shown.

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Assessment process

Entry submissions will be assessed in three stages:

Stage 1: Compliance checks

The Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities will do initial assessments of entries to ensure all entries are complete and comply with entry requirements.

Stage 2: Category Judging

Each award category will be assessed by a separate panel who will determine the winners.

Category winners will be announced by the Minister for Local Government in a media release to be issued in mid April 2019.

Category winners will be contacted by  contacted by the Awards team prior to the issue of the media release.

Stage 3: 2019 National Award winner judging

On 1 May 2019, the ten category winners will be invited to come to Canberra to pitch their project to a National Panel who will choose the project from the Award Category winners who will become the overall 2019 National Award winner.

The selection of the National Award Winner will be based on:

  • The quality of the entry submission;
  • The effectiveness of the pitch presentation made to the panel
  • Responses to questions from the National Panel.

Travel and Accommodation for National Judging

Each of the category winners is entitled to send one representative to Canberra to present to the National Panel. Travel and accommodation is organized and paid for by the Awards Secretariat at the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities.

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What happens next

The 2019 National Award Category winners will be invited to Canberra on Tuesday 18 June 2019 to attend:

  • The Category Award Winners presentation luncheon event Parliament House; and
  • The announcement of the 2019 National Award Winners at The Australian Local Government Association dinner, Parliament House, Canberra.

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Last Updated: 22 January, 2019