Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis has praised staff across the authority after their expert crisis handling scooped a prestigious national award.
Our Crisis Response Team was named the winner at the MJ Local Government Achievement Awards 2020 ceremony held online today (Friday 2 October) in the Best Council Services Team category.
In 2019 Derbyshire found itself at the sharp end of extreme weather and at the centre of international media attention, not once but twice.
The first crisis to hit the county was the Toddbrook Reservoir incident at Whaley Bridge in August.
After a week of heavy rainfall, emergency services were alerted after it was reported that water was pouring out of the Toddbrook Reservoir dam which stands above the Peak District town.
Within an hour a major incident had been declared and planning for the evacuation of 1,500 residents began.
Had the dam given way millions of gallons of water would have swept through the failing dam and into the town, with catastrophic consequences for residents.
The second crisis was severe flooding across large parts of the county in November, which affected homes and businesses.
Together these are the county’s two biggest peacetime incidents, happening just 3 months apart.
Both incidents required precision planning, logistics and expertise, and the Crisis Response Team, led by our emergency planning unit, was assembled from our many different services including highways engineers, home carers, social workers, public health specialists, transport planners, flooding specialists, business advisors, communications officers, contact centre supervisors and others.
Many of the staff involved had never met each other, and quickly had to establish close working relationships so the team could ensure the best and most effective service to Derbyshire residents.
Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis said:
“I am delighted that the efforts of all the staff from across a number of departments has been recognised in this way.
“I know that across both incidents everyone involved worked tirelessly to ensure people were safe, had somewhere to stay, received emergency supplies and grants, that vulnerable people were protected and everyone knew where to get the most up-to-date information.
“Both events were incredibly challenging and difficult for the residents affected by them and throughout it was always our top priority to do our best for them, protect them and support them wherever we could.
“This is only possible when we all work closely and well together, in partnership with others, and this award reflects the resilience of all involved and is a wonderful example of the great Derbyshire spirit.
“I feel immensely proud and it is very well deserved for the epic work undertaken on behalf of communities across Derbyshire, during these incidents and currently as we tackle the challenges brought by coronavirus.”