Dudley Council’s law and governance team has been shortlisted for two awards
The Lead for Law and Governance and the wider Democratic Services team have both been shortlisted as part of the Lawyers in Local Government Awards.
Mohammed Farooq, Monitoring Officer and the head of the Law and Governance division was nominated for Inspirational Leader in Law Award. Diagnosed with a rare blood condition from a young age, he has battled through adversity and continues to lead a high performing law and governance team at Dudley Council. For Mohammed, the significant professional challenges of responding to frequently emerging and changing legislation of the pandemic was exacerbated by the threat that the pandemic posed to his health.
But over a year of challenge, Mohammed has guided his teams to continued high performance and success. Mohammed has responsibility for around 100 staff and in addition to the court room activity, Mohammed also has managerial responsibility for Health and Safety, Democratic Services and Elections. Over the last 12 months Mohammed has steered the authority’s health and safety response, guided the authority’s democratic services team to deliver the country’s first scrutiny process around a council’s coronavirus response, receiving national praise and in the Local Elections, Dudley became one of only a handful of authorities to declare results overnight after Mohammed’s guidance of the elections team gave the Returning Officer confidence that a covid secure overnight count could be delivered.
The democratic services team which he oversees has also been shortlisted in Democratic Functions and Governance award category for their work during the pandemic. They effectively fulfilled the full programme of council meetings via MS Teams, contacting all councillors individually to ensure they could participate and employing technology so members of the public and journalists could also attend and see the democratic process in action as well as helping to deliver a full programme of remote school admission appeals. They also helped to deliver a pre-emptive scrutiny process looking at how the council and its partners has responded to the pandemic and identifying learning and improved ways of working while the pandemic was at its height.
Councillor Steve Clark, cabinet member for finance and legal, said:
I’m incredibly proud of the work Mohammed and the wider democratic services team have delivered during the pandemic. They’ve managed to keep the wheels of democracy turning and ensure that we have been able to implement and advise on the evolving pandemic legislation, helping to keep our staff, schools, businesses and communities safe.
We’ve achieved at lot at Dudley over the recent years and the last 12 months has been a huge professional challenge but I’m pleased with the way we have handled the legislative challenges Covid has presented whilst also continuing to maintain and enhance our ‘business as usual’ services.
In terms of my health, I am so grateful to the doctors and nurses at the Sickle Cell and Thalassemia Centre, at the City Hospital, Birmingham who have supported me and I’m keen to do what I can to put something back and support others. When I attend my monthly transfusion sessions the staff ask me to speak to at least one or two young people who have similar rare blood conditions to myself. I am happy to convey that if I can do it, anyone can do it, and I hope my words will help them believe that any condition should not hold them back from following their dreams.
The winners will be announced at a virtual event on 15 July.