CIEH Excellence Awards: a past winner explains why you should enter

08 April 2019, Wendy Brolly, Environmental Health Manager (Health and Wellbeing Team), Antrim and Newtonabbey Borough Council

Environmental Health Manager Wendy Brolly and Deputy Mayor Alderman John Smyth collect the Outstanding Environmental Health Team 2018 award on behalf of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Health and Wellbeing Team

Deputy Mayor, Alderman John Smyth and Wendy Brolly, Environmental Health Manager (Health and Wellbeing Team) collect the Outstanding Environmental Health Team 2018 award on behalf of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Health and Wellbeing Team. On the left of John is Seth Gulliver of award category sponsor Just Eat, while CIEH Chief Executive Anne Godfrey is to the right of Wendy.

Wendy Brolly, Environmental Health Manager at Antrim and Newtonabbey Borough Council was a member of the team that won the Outstanding Environmental Health Team category in 2018.

She spoke to us about her experience of the CIEH Excellence Awards and why she thinks they are important to the profession.

Why did you enter the CIEH Excellence Awards?

Following Local Government Reform in Northern Ireland in 2015, the Health and Wellbeing Team was established in the new Council as one of three teams within the Environmental Health Section. Throughout 2018 the team had been working on raising the profile of the work they do, and we thought the CIEH Excellence Awards would support this. The team had piloted a new way of working with a local community which was making a difference to their lives, and the team wanted to highlight this. Read the details from the award-winning entry.

What did you learn from the process of preparing your entry?

We realised that through a period of great change for both the new Council and the team members, we had achieved a lot and were leading on a new way of working.

What did winning mean to you?

It was a great surprise and very exciting to win - it meant a lot to receive recognition from our own profession when there were so many examples of excellent work across environmental health. It was great to return home with the award and to share it with the team members and all our colleagues within the Environmental Health Section!

Councillor Mervyn Rea, Deputy Mayor Alderman John Smyth and Environmental Health Manager Wendy Brolly.

Councillor Mervyn Rea, Deputy Mayor Alderman John Smyth and Environmental Health Manager Wendy Brolly.

How has winning the Outstanding Environmental Health Team category benefitted you, your team and your organisation?

Winning the award has raised the profile of the great work the team does and recognises their efforts. It also validated the co-production approach the team has been piloting and has helped to highlight the many different aspects of the role of Environmental Health Practitioners. The team and the Council received congratulations from colleagues, other Councils and the Local Government Staff Commission.

I attended the awards ceremony with two Elected Members from the Council, and it was great for them to see how broad the role of Environmental Health is. Winning the award has helped us to highlight the role and contribution of external partners, whether through funding or other support or resources. Receiving the award has also emphasised the role councils have in improving the health and wellbeing of their local communities.

Has winning changed how you think about your role and work?

Winning has encouraged us to keep trying new ways of working and to find new avenues to promote the work of the team.

Why do you think the CIEH Excellence Awards are important?

They are a great way of recognising best practice and highlighting the varied roles of Environmental Health Practitioners. The awards also give the opportunity to reflect on your work and document what you have achieved.

What advice would you give to someone who is preparing their entry?

I found it really helpful looking at the previous winners’ entries. Try and follow the guidance given by CIEH and provide the information asked for. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the entry – it took several drafts to get the version we were happy to submit. If you can, get other colleagues or someone outside your team to read your entry and see if it makes sense to them.

What would you say to someone who is not sure about entering - why should someone enter the awards in 2019?

Give it a go, you never know you might be lucky enough to be shortlisted or win! The awards are a great way of reflecting on what you have achieved and raising the profile of your work within the profession and to the wider public.

As the winning entry in the Outstanding Environmental Health Team category, the judges commented:

"This entry stood out because of the team’s mission, courage and determination to work differently. Embracing ‘co-production’ and working with communities, the team set out to really make a difference to health and wellbeing outcomes. Taking on this challenge, learning and working together, co-production is already leading to positive changes and improvements through: community spirit and health champions; asset-based approaches to health and wellbeing; collective community identity and a clear vision and focussed action for good emotional and mental wellbeing. Local people are actively participating with the team and they say that the community has become stronger."

Interested in entering or nominating someone in the 2020 Awards?

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