Thursday, 9 July 2009

Prime Minister praises Education Leeds’ customer service

The Prime Minister has written to the city’s education bosses to praise the levels of customer service being offered in Leeds.

The letter from Gordon Brown MP was received following an inspection which saw Education Leeds become one of the first public sector organisations to achieve the government’s prestigious Customer Service Excellence award two years running.

In his letter Gordon Brown wrote ‘to be recognised for this challenging standard is a tribute to your organisation’s customer service culture’. The inspector who carried out the assessment noted the ‘commitment was found from senior management, through to operations and front line staff’ and acknowledged that progress had been made to improve the service from the previous year’s inspection.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“It is vital that we provide excellent advice and assistance across the council to everyone who needs to contact us. The fact that Education Leeds’ has achieved this accreditation for the second year running is a testament to the commitment and hard work of everyone involved.”

Chris Edwards chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“As well as providing a brilliant education to our children and young people we are also committed to providing a brilliant service when parents and carers need to contact us.

“This award highlights we are achieving that and the fact we are one of the first public organisations to achieve it two years running makes it even more special.

“It means that everyone who contacts our staff can be assured they are receiving the best customer service, advice and information available.”

The assessment highlighted several positives, including: the management of the delivery of new high school projects and about the support given to schools throughout the process; the transparency of school budgets and training provided for schools; the admissions team and schools appeal system - which is seen by other authorities as being a model of best practice; and initiatives developed in conjunction with the youth council on sustainability.

An issue raised by the assessor was the development of Education Leeds’ complaints procedure which will be developed in preparation for next year’s assessment.

The Customer Service Excellence award was introduced in March last year and replaced the Charter Mark. For more information visit


For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577

Free road safety breakfast for Leeds’ bikers

Caption: Councillor Stuart Andrew, lead member for road safety, arrives at Biker's Breakfast

Caption: David Glanville, road safety officer - powered two wheelers, and Cllr Andrew enjoy their breakfast

Bikers in Leeds are being offered a free breakfast on Wednesday, 15 July to mark National Ride to Work Day, which is part of National Motorcycle Week 2009.

The biker’s breakfast event gives Leeds City Council a great opportunity to promote the use of powered two wheelers as a smarter travel choice and to offer road safety advice to bikers. To encourage as many riders as possible to call in, free bacon sandwiches and cups of tea will be offered between 7 and 9.30am, at Kirkstall Fire Station.

Lending his support to the campaign is the council’s lead member for road safety, Councillor Stuart Andrew, who will arrive at the event as a pillion passenger on a motorbike.

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Media are invited to the Biker’s Breakfast at Kirkstall Fire Station at 8am on Wednesday, 15 July where there will be the opportunity to photograph Councillor Stuart Andrew, arriving at the event on a motorbike, and a chance to speak to him and representatives from the council’s road safety and travelwise teams about the benefits of using powered two wheelers to commute to work.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

Councillor Stuart Andrew, lead member for road safety said:
“Commuting by motorbike or scooter can help to ease congestion and improve traffic flow, but it’s recognised that riders can be more vulnerable than other road users, especially when negotiating rush hour traffic.

“Reducing congestion and improving road safety are two core aims for Leeds as a highways authority, and this event will help to raise awareness of both”.

“This event offers practical tips to bikers to help them stay safe on our roads, and if it helps to keep just one rider out of danger then it will have been a success. I hope as many bikers as possible take the opportunity to drop in to get some practical tips and advice, as well as the bacon sandwiches!”


Additional info

Travelling to work by motorbike or scooter instead of using the car can save a significant amount of time and reduce congestion whilst still giving the flexibility of personal transport.

Reminding other road users to take an extra second to look out for PTW’s helps to reduce the number of riders injured on the roads.

The more time riders spend on the bike the better riders they can become, so the ride to work can improve the skills they use when riding for pleasure.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Building Hope gets closer for children in Sri Lanka

Construction of the Building Hope children's centre, a brand new facility being built in Sri Lanka thanks to the generosity of the city of Leeds, is on track and due to be completed by March 2010.

Funded with the help of donations totalling over £136,000 from the people of Leeds, and a £100,000 donation from Leeds City Council, the centre will provide a range of health and support services to children in the Kirulapone district of Colombo who experienced long-term damage as a result of the destruction caused by the Boxing Day tsunami, which hit the island in 2004. The centre will also include facilities for counselling and child development.

Plans for the staffing and equipping of the centre will be progressed during a visit from Dr Pradeep Kariyawasam, the chief medical officer for health from Colombo Municipal Council, who will be in Leeds next week and will meet council chiefs to discuss the services the centre will offer when the doors open next year. Dr Kariyawasam will be the lead officer overseeing the project once the construction work is finished.

Work on the centre has experienced delays as a result of the country’s conflict, which has had an impact across the whole country in recent times. The two city councils have now developed a strong partnership, which will ensure that the project is completed and that services are delivered that will allow Leeds to show its continued commitment to the children of Colombo.

Councillor Richard Brett, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“The people of Leeds responded most generously to the Building Hope appeal, which helped the city raise over £236,000.

“We wanted to be involved in a project that Leeds’ people could see develop and take into their hearts. We also wanted to create something lasting, to benefit children and young people long after the physical scars of the tsunami had healed, and this children’s centre will do just that.

“We look forward to seeing the children’s centre take shape and will continue to work in partnership with Colombo Municipal Council to get the centre operational as soon as possible.”

Dr Peter Hayes, the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka said:
“The Building Hope project is an excellent example of how local governments can work together to improve lives across the globe.

“The generosity and expertise of the people of Leeds has created a wonderful gift from the city to the children of Colombo.”


For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578