National Excellence in Local Government Award

Longford County Council Takes National Excellence in Local Government Award for the Use of Remote Working Technology


Local Government Award


The Excellence in Local Government Awards are hosted by Chambers Ireland in partnership with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to showcase the best practice and innovation in local government across Ireland. The annual Awards began in 2004 to recognise the Local Authority of the Year and many other achievements delivered by Local Authorities. 


The 2020 awards were announced online by Ms. Mary Kennedy on Thursday 26th November 2020 with Longford County Council taking the prestigious award for “Outstanding Initiative through the Municipal Districts ”. The award recognised Longford County Councils strive for innovation and leadership in adopting digital technology to allow the elected members continue to serve their communities.


During the initial days of the first Covid-19 lockdown, the elected members of Longford County Council quickly embraced remote working technology to ensure continued financial support to the community and voluntary communities of County Longford.


This initiative ensured the elected members could meet remotely to consider and prioritise applications for funding in each Municipal District. Local communities were at the centre of this initiative, with up to 90 community groups receiving approximately €430,000 in funding through the three digital Municipal District meetings. This funding was provided by the elected members at a time when other funding streams were effectively cut off.


This new digital way of working ensured transparency within local government was upheld and it demonstrates the use of technology to strengthen local democracy, leadership and accountability in keeping with a commitment to e-democracy and e-governance.


Mr. John McKeon, Director of Finance and Regeneration stated, “The news that Longford County Council have won the Chambers Ireland Excellence Award 2020 for Outstanding Initiative through the Municipal Districts with the Embracing Remote Working Technology to Support Community and Voluntary Groups Project is very welcome news indeed for this Local Authority.


This prestigious national  award is testament to the hard-work, dedication, adaptability and can-do attitude of our in-house IT Team, while one of the smallest in the sector, they constantly and consistently punch above their weight to deliver innovative and flexible cutting edge solutions to the whole organisation, through the Municipal Districts and its members and ultimately to the citizens and communities of Co. Longford.


Their flexibility and agility in delivering solutions, particularly as a response to the Covid-19 epidemic enabled this local authority to continue to deliver its operational, statutory, governance and representational functions seamlessly throughout the crisis. Indeed, Longford Municipal District was the first Municipal District in the Country to hold a virtual meeting in 2020. This award is due recognition at a national level for all of that”.


Mr. Danny Lynch, Longford County Councils Head of Information Technology welcomed the award, stating “we are delighted to receive this award, it is recognition of the very wise strategic investment in technology made by our Senior Management Team and elected members a number of years ago. Their vision and belief in how technology could be used in Local Government to achieve efficiencies and to help modernise our business processes has really paid dividends to us in our response to the Covid-19 pandemic”. Mr. Lynch noted special recognition to the Council’s Broadband and Digital Projects Officer, Ms Christine Collins, detailing; “Christine in her role as the Council’s Broadband and Digital Projects Officer has been invaluable in promoting the digital agenda in Longford, both in communities through her work on Town WIFI, rural Broadband Connection Points and internally within Longford County Council through her work in various digital projects. Christine has been instrumental in helping us take full advantage of the benefits of technology”. Stating “we have no doubt that this award could be the first of many that recognises how Longford uses technology to strategically improve and innovate, we are a very progressive and innovative local authority and we are delighted that has been recognised nationally”


Cathaoirleach, Councillor Paul Ross, congratulated his fellow elected members and the Council’s Management Team and IT Section, stating, “the award is recognition at a national level of how modern and progressive Longford is. Longford is a council that has embraced technology and uses technology strategically to overcome obstacles and help gain a competitive advantage for the County as a whole. Local communities and businesses have been at the heart of our actions in response to this pandemic, be it in the form of the €5.7 million Restart Grants provided online recently for Longford businesses or grants for community groups or online Council meetings, we have used technology to its full potential to the benefit of the people of our County”.


The Council’s Chief Executive Mr Paddy Mahon, welcomed the award and congratulated the elected members, detailing “the award is just recognition of how our elected members have enthusiastically supported the ethos of smarter working, using technology to make collaboration possible and using it to support Longford communities. The award is also a clear indicator that our strategic investment in technology is helping to improve every aspect of our service delivery. It provides an insight into the dynamic, innovative and fundamental work of our in-house IT Section, supporting the provision of services within the County.”