Refuse workers, trading standards officers, environmental health inspectors, youth workers, librarians, school cleaners, care assistants – and many more – deliver vital local services. They are the glue that hold our communities together. UNISON’s Local Champions campaign celebrates and defends local government workers for the everyday heroes they are.

Local government workers go above and beyond the call of duty to keep the country going, yet their efforts are often overlooked. They support us at every stage of our lives. We depend upon them to provide critical public services, that adapt to our ever-changing needs and to hold our communities together.

UNISON’s Local Service Champions campaign celebrates the invaluable contribution local authority staff make to our lives, raising the profile of these unsung heroes and everything that they do.

Local Service Champions awards

The Local Service Champions Awards celebrate the invaluable contribution local authority staff make to our lives. We owe our champions a huge debt.

After months of searching, we are thrilled to share with you our Local Service Champions Award winners:

Meet our winner Jade Carter-Williams and two runner-ups Jo Foster-Murdoch and Martine Horner by watching our short films that showcase the difference they make in their roles.

Winner: Jade Carter-Williams – Jade works as an Environmental Health Officer at Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea council. Her role involves dealing with extremely vulnerable residents, from domestic abuse survivors to private rented tenants with defects in their property and criminal landlords. Jade consistently goes beyond her role by supporting residents with specific and complex needs, regularly working with vulnerable residents to engage with multi disciplinary services so they receive the appropriate advice and support. Jade has also worked hard to help establish the Ability to Thrive network, supporting staff and people identifying with a disability. It has facilitated the introduction of a reasonable adjustment passport, disability management training, peer-to-peer neurodiversity training and changes to occupational health procedures.

Watch Jade’s film

Runners Up: Jo Foster-Murdoch – Jo is a Community Librarian and she has done a huge amount of work to develop a wide range of activities, events and projects across Norfolk Libraries to support and advocate for LGBT+ communities. Such examples include identifying and developing LGBT+ history collections at Norfolk Heritage Centre, running the monthly Norfolk LGBT+ History Club and promoting health and wellbeing information and resources.

Watch Jo’s film

Martine Horner – Martine’s role as an Asylum, Refugee and Migrant Community Integration Senior Practioner involves supporting children and families who are new arrivals into South Tyneside including Afghan families, Ukrainian refugees and those seeking asylum. Her team assists with everything a family needs support with – this includes teaching English in various schools, securing school places, ensuring they are registered with GPs and providing clothing and bedding for all in the family.

Watch Martine’s film

Nominations for the 2024 awards open on Thursday 7th December so make sure to come back here to tell us about someone in your workplace who deserves to win!

When Paddy met Christopher

Last year, our 2022 Local Service Champion Paddy Toner sat down with acting superstar Christopher Eccleston (star of Doctor Who, Our Friends in the North and countless other films and shows) to talk about the importance of local government workers and the impact of funding cuts to local services:



Dawn Hallewell receiving her award

Conference applauds the Local Service Champions

Award winners named before local government delegates get back down to the debates

A month of perennial change

But championing and defending our members are always on UNISON’s agenda

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