ADEPT awards winners 2023 – a celebration of innovation for local places

At its annual President’s Awards, the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) has recognised the achievement of members and partners across the country.

The ceremony, which was part of ADEPT’s Spring Conference also marks the end of Mark Kemp’s presidency of the Association.

This year, ADEPT introduced a new category to recognise a team member who makes a real difference by the way they work, the outcomes they deliver and the influence they exert.

The ADEPT President’s Special Recognition Award sponsored by Norse Group, went to Farah Hussain from Newcastle City Council. The judges admired Farah’s ‘… good grace and humour’ and that her ‘diplomacy and communication all stood out in recognising the skills we need in the leaders of today and tomorrow.’

The remaining awards are divided into three categories.

Delivering Clean Growth, sponsored by Jacobs, was won by Essex County Council for its Harlow and Tendring Retrofit Pipeline for Economic Renewal. Funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund, the scheme delivered a targeted programme across social housing, skills and employment, business and training all contributing to the local delivery of retrofit. The judges praised the programme for being ‘a bit out of the ordinary and a very specific and tailored approach to real world problem.’

Two projects were highly commended. Cheshire East Highways’ Delivering a Lower Carbon Highway Service, the Road to Net Zero adopted new technologies and practices to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. Norfolk County Council’s Decarbonising Norwich through micromobility offers pedal bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters through a single operator with over 2.5km of journeys travelled.

Digital Innovation and Technology, sponsored by Ringway was won by Surrey County Council for Digital Placemaking – your neighbourhood in 3D. With a £125,000 grant from the DLUHC PropTech fund and working with digital partners, Surrey was able to achieve a sevenfold increase in engagement with under 35s using an immersive game in a 3D model of Farnham. The judges described it as ‘Completely different and exciting’ and a ‘different means of engaging with members of the public’. They also found it to be ‘imaginative and worthy of recognition.’

Highly commended in this category was the Bath City Centre Movement Insights Data project from Bath & NE Somerset Council, where data from a digital dashboard enables the use of high quality data to identify strategies that encourage a higher volume and longer visits to help rebuild the High Street.

Two projects from Essex County Council were jointly highly commended. Digital Structures Inspections trialled the use of sophisticated drone platforms and imaging technology with a digital platform to plan, manage and analyse inspections. Digital Highway Safety Inspections uses RoadAI technology to automatically analyse video readings from vehicle mounted smartphones and apply UKPMS methodology to categorize and report defects.

Shaping Places for People, sponsored by WSP, was won by the London Borough of Newham for its Community Assemblies Programme. As well as providing funding and skills, the scheme fosters local participation to create projects that benefit the community and incentivises residents to take pride in their neighbourhood. The judges applauded Newham’s ‘Bottom up community power focus’ and described it as ‘an outright winner’ and ‘a nice antidote to tech-led initiatives.’

Somerset Council was highly commended for its Somerset Safe and Warm project which offers a wrap-around service enabling people to access advice, support and funding to keep them comfortable and well at an affordable cost, while also securing fuel bill savings and carbon reductions.

Outgoing ADEPT President, Mark Kemp said: “After such difficult pandemic years for local government, it was amazing to have so many entries across each category this year. It made for a very competitive awards process with much debate amongst the judges.

“I would like to congratulate everyone but particularly our winners. They demonstrate the vitality of our teams working across place and how they rise to the challenges of supporting their communities, reaching net zero and using digital innovation. A particular congratulations must also go to Farah, who will definitely be one to watch.”

ADEPT is the voice of strategic place directors from county, combined and unitary authorities across England with responsibility for the key place based services, including transport, environment, planning, economic development, housing and waste.


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