All Bolton's Best winners 2019
Published: Friday, 6th Dec 2019

The winners of the council’s Bolton’s Best staff awards, sponsored by Agilisys, have been announced.

At the ceremony in the Albert Halls the winners of the eight categories were awarded.

There were 161 nominations for the eight categories with 28 people chosen as finalists.

The night also saw the presentation of our Long Service awards to those with 40 year service honouring members of staff who have dedicated their working lives to the council, and made an important contribution to making Bolton a great place to live, work, visit, and invest.

The awards are sponsored by the council’s IT supplier Agilisys.

Tony Oakman, Chief Executive said: “On a fantastic night we celebrated not just the work of all our finalists but all staff.

“The longer I work here the more I see how special Bolton is and that we and are our partners are all Team Bolton. We are all working for the good of the borough.

“The awards really are an important part of celebrating and rewarding of our staff for their excellent work to deliver our objectives and achieve our vision to improve the quality of life for everyone in the Bolton family, and encourage morale and motivation.

“My congratulations go out to all our winners, our finalists, and you all for the fantastic work that you do. I do get really emotional reading through the nominations and listening to all the amazing stories on the night.

“I’m really grateful for the support of our IT supplier Agilisys without which the awards aren’t possible

“I’d also like to thank everybody who worked behind the scenes to make this important event happen.”


The winners were:


Best Young Worker

Anna Tomkinson, Saturday Library Museum Assistant and Sunday Duty Manager 

Anna shows off our values to their best. She has shown responsibility at such a young age by managing the Sunday service in the library on her own, the youngest manager in the council. It can be a very difficult task managing the issues that are raised, and making decisions with no back up.

She is determined to succeed and improve by learning how the Central Library works as a business, compiling work rotas and managing relations with customers extremely well. She recognises the challenges of identifying which areas of the library are going to be busy.

She is open, honest and transparent when makes a mistake and uses that to improve. She discusses her experiences with other duty managers enabling her to learn.

She is calm and collected when solving problems, without casting blame.


Unsung Hero

Mike Grundy, Customer Services, Contact Centre 

Mike received the largest number of nominations this year, and was voted the winner by staff.

He is appreciated by all the people he comes into contact with, and goes above and beyond the call of duty. He is friendly, empathetic, thorough, polite, always cheerful and has all the information needed to be able to proceed with a call.

Mike is accurate and concise in the information he takes from the customer which enables the service to identify whether it is the suitable team or give the correct advice if not.

If the call is not appropriate Mike will always go above and beyond and will go back to the customer with the correct information and signpost them appropriately. This prevents the caller from being passed around to different departments therefore creating a better customer journey.

Mike has an excellent telephone manner and is always very pleasant when communicating with him.


Working Together award

Bolton Money Skills Service

The Money Skills team works with a range of council services and partners to prevent homelessness. The award is not just for them but for all the partners as well.

They have built excellent relationships and all the partners are actively working together and  know who to turn to when they need support.

This includes working:

  • with tenants who face potential court action for rent arears and their landlords
  • working with those in hostels, who are ready to move into rented accommodation, to help them with budgeting, using banks and savings, getting furniture
  • making sure customers get the support they need

The team actively shares knowledge and information through training with the partners, shadowing opportunities, working groups, and actively building links with other services across the council


Outstanding Performance Award

The judging panel decided to award joint winners for this award this year.

  • Steen Swanton, Mobile Resources Lead, Play and Youth Team
  • Kayleigh Myers, Special Educational Needs Playworker 

Both Steen and Kayleigh work for the Play and Youth Service.

Steen is a larger than life character who goes above and beyond to make events such as National Play Day, Sports on the Square and the Youth Vision Conference work. His enthusiasm to build on them year on year is amazing and motivates his team to make each event better and better.

He has moved with the times and used social media to help spread the word which reaches other agencies and communities to get involved. His involvement is total often making carnival games and activities during his weekends and evenings


Kayleigh is a special educational needs playworker in a challenging role, but she puts her heart and soul into supporting the families she works with. She is a really valued team member, always someone you can go to for support & guidance.

During the three years that Kayleigh has been on the Play is For All team she has worked with many children and young people with SEN and disabilities and always goes the extra mile to make sure that the children and young people engage and enjoy participating in the activities.

For example Kayleigh supports one young lady with a diagnosis of severe epilepsy and complex health needs. Kayleigh has built a fantastic bond with this young lady and her mother. Kayleigh supports mum in taking her child for days out on a weekend and went with mum and the young lady to the Bolton Active Sports awards where the young lady was nominated and won the 'Disabled Achievement award' which is not expected in her job role. The young lady presents many challenges which never seem to faze Kayleigh, she is always there to offer a supportive hand and offer advice or share her knowledge.


Lifetime Achievement

Julie Oldham, Head of Service, Libraries and Museums 

Julie started work at Bolton Council in Libraries in 1988 and has enjoyed a happy career making a difference by inspiring as many people as she could to actively use libraries, developing strong partnerships and being a true advocate for Bolton in her work.

She has overseen huge changes to libraries and museums in her career, from opening new community libraries, bringing in the Peoples Computer Network and most recently the museum redevelopment.

She is passionate and well respected by her teams but has achieved success with humility.

She has given her time generously to mentor and guide others, especially women, in their work in local government and in the wider library sector.

This has been done formally as a line manager but also informally as a mentor and coach. Julie always thinks about how her actions will impact others, putting their feelings before her own, just making sure that everyone is alright.


Leadership and Inspiration

Again our judging panel could not separate our winners:

  • Janet Graham, Team Manager, Phoenix Exit Team 
  • Carole Jackson, Housing Sustainability Officer

Janet has been a true ambassador in ensuring the children of Bolton have been protected from child sexual exploitation and has played a big part in ensuring that this level of commitment has filtered down to her team and other agencies.

Janet is kind, caring, thoughtful, understanding, and knowledgeable. She not only manages the team but also promotes services to partner agencies, and delivers training to the whole of children's services and other agencies.

She is both supportive in developing staff and always makes herself available when staff need support. Janet manages well when there is a crisis and supports staff to ensure that they are supported and de-briefed.


Carole is the Housing Sustainability Principal Officer and as part of this role she manages the Time 2 Talk Mediation Service, Money Skills, Money Advice and the Furniture 4 U project.  

She works hard to integrate the teams to work together and to avoid silo working. She considers projects from a strategic point of view, planning to see if any work could benefit other council services. For example she has linked the mediation service with the housing options team, so they can provide mediation for lodger exclusion cases and thus helping reduce and prevent homelessness in the borough.

She has a compassionate and empathetic nature, is always willing to listen to new ideas and works extremely hard to help implement changes that would benefit the service.

She always praises hard work and makes sure her staff are recognised as needed, highlighting good work to senior managers.


Best Team

The Workshop

The Workshop provides support to help local residents improve their skills, qualifications and work experience, as well as helping to find sustainable employment, especially those who face complex barriers to getting back into work. These can include anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol misuse, language issues, criminal records or family problems.

Since 2011 the team has helped more than 1300 people into work and improved the skills, confidence and qualifications of 5000 more.

Support is free to individuals and is supported by income generation, which has brought in around £1.3 million to the council to cover the cost of the service and generated revenue.

The Workshop is regularly one of the best performing employability providers in the Northwest for the Work Programme.

Just one of their many customers said: “I was referred to The Workshop when I had hit rock bottom in my life and had lost all motivation after being unemployed for so long. The Workshop gave me the confidence to believe in myself and I feel I was very lucky because without this support I would not have got this job. I love my job and I look forward to going to work every day.”


Making a difference award

Community Learning Disability Team – The Hollies

People with learning disabilities face inequality in all areas of their lives, including health, housing, employment, education, support, justice and relationships.

The Community Learning Disability Team worked on planning the Hollies supported living project, a new scheme of twenty-four individual apartments for local people with learning disabilities or autism.  



Long Service Awards

  • Janet Potter, a manager in our library service
  • Stephen Walsh from our Neighbourhood Care team
  • David Bennett, also from our Neighbourhood Care team
  • Christopher Kellett from Vehicle Fleet Management
  • David Edwards from our Schools Finance team
  • Alison Duncan from Accounts Receivable