6 teams from councils and 2 teams from Fire and Rescue Services across the South West came together yesterday (14 July 2021) virtually to compete against each other for the virtual South West Challenge Cup.

Having had to postpone the Challenge in 2020, South West Councils were determined to develop and deliver this new, first ever virtual Challenge this year which we did in partnership with Richard Willis. It gave the teams of 6 a safe space in which to get experience of what it is like to run a Council under extreme pressure.  During the day they had to deal with several hypothetical crises.

As well as having fun, this was a unique learning opportunity.  Local authorities are expected to develop innovative partnership solutions to both save money and deliver better local services.  This challenge was about experiencing partnership working under pressure.

The winning team of the Virtual SW Challenge was Wiltshire Council team 1.

The 6 team members from Wiltshire Council's winning team

Above Winners:  Wiltshire Council Team 1:

  • Kat McJannet       Kirsty Rose
  • Ella Crerar             Rachel Finlay
  • Laura Young          Henry Powell

The other award winners of individual prizes included:

  • Rachel Finlay, a member of the Wiltshire Council team 1 won the award for the Best Chief Executive Officer.
  • Somerset County Council’s team won the award for Best Media Interaction, Best Presentation and for the Best Residents’ Magazine
  • Dorset Council’s team won the prize for Best Partnership working
  • Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service’s team won the award for the Best Collaborative Space working.

I am delighted that our first virtual South West Challenge was such a success and would like to congratulate the winning team for their impressive contribution, all the teams should be proud of getting through the day, it is tough.  I would like to thank all the role players and assessors, who gave up their time to help make this such a special development opportunity, by providing on the day assessment for all teams.

 It was great to see everyone engaged in the challenge, and we look forward to being back to an in person event at WestPoint, Exeter for the 2022 South West Challenge on 8 June 2022. It will be a newly designed Challenge event reflecting on our learning from 2021”  Said Bryony Houlden, Chief Executive, South West Councils.

Other quotes about this exciting event included:

 “What an amazing day, well done everyone involved.”

 “Thank you to everyone @SWCouncils & @willsy2 for organising such an enjoyable and challenging day. Huge thanks to my @SomersetCouncil & @SWTCouncil team members for making it so enjoyable. Fab teamwork”

 “Just wanted to say what a fantastic and brilliantly organised and run event.  You should be really proud of what you have achieved as a team.  Virtual challenge with instant feedback – what a task you set yourselves.”

 “Great working with such a professional group of people – you are an inspiration”

 For information about the SW Challenge 2022.