It’s Local Service Champions Day, let’s celebrate – a guest blog post by Diane Peacock

Today UNISON celebrate our first-ever Champions Day in local government.

Local Service Champions Day

Today UNISON celebrate our first-ever Champions Day in local government. As Branch Secretary for City Of Sunderland Branch, and a regional local government SGE representative, I am delighted to support this initiative as I am passionate about the need to celebrate the importance of local government workers.

The vital work that these staff carry out is often hidden and communities and citizens sometimes don’t realise that they are being kept safe and supported.

Although some of our champions are visible as in frontline staff and the public can see the great work they do, we also need to celebrate our hidden champions. Welfare rights for example do an amazing job helping residents with their social security and benefits queries; food and trading standards staff help ensure facilities are kept safe and hygienic; safeguarding teams keep vulnerable people from harm – the list of vital roles in our sector is endless and behind each of these roles is a dedicated person who works as part of a team delivering key public services.

It’s a worrying time for local government with Councils across ​the North East facing a collective funding gap of over £112m in the next financial year. I’m proud that our Region has a track record of delivering for local government members and campaigning against government inflicted cuts to Council services. In Sunderland too, we know that local government workers are not always recognised for the crucial work that they do by the Government and have campaigned hard to make sure they are recognised within the city, which in turn has fed into wider regional campaigns.

I am delighted that we now have a whole union dedicated day for all local government across the country to celebrate our hidden heroes and our branch – and the region – will be participating in this important event to celebrate our amazing members!

Diane Peacock