Merton worker wins local government challenge

Rachel Allen, Business Improvement Officer at the London Borough of Merton was last night crowned the first ever winner of the national Local Government Challenge, by BBC Presenter, Jeremy Vine.

The LG challenge sponsored by Liberata(1), began back in January with ten council employees taking on a series of national challenges taking them across the country to Coventry, Waverley/Surrey, Northampton, Kent and Essex.

Contestants had to put their skills to the test, work together in teams, and present findings to a panel of judges to find the answers to increasing voter turnout; producing a promotional video to encourage countries taking part in the Olympics 2012 to base their team locally; revitalising a town’s night-time economy; making a park self-financing within three years and transforming an empty building into a base for charity.

Rachel can now look forward to receiving up to £10,000 from the Bruce-Lockhart Scholarship (2) , to promote and share fresh ideas and approaches for the public sector through exchanges between the UK, USA and Europe.

On receiving her prize, Rachel said:

‘I am looking forward to using the Scholarship to fulfil my potential and benefit the Merton community and the way the council works with residents. I would like to thank my friends and colleagues for their support together with everyone involved in organising the challenges.’

LGA Chairman, Dame Margaret Eaton, said:

‘The enthusiasm shown by all ten finalists was tremendous and every one of them should be congratulated in coming this far and putting so much effort into the competition.

‘Every challenge proved difficult but they pulled together in their teams and came up with some worthwhile solutions, some of which are actually now being developed by the councils involved.

‘Councils must be seen as innovative, forward-thinking and efficient. This national competition provided the ideal opportunity to celebrate the diverse talent and ambition within local government and highlighted the sector as an inspiring career choice.’


1)Liberata is the LGA’s service delivery partner of choice. Further information can be found at

2) The Bruce-Lockhart Scholarship is the first award to be made by the Bruce-Lockhart Leadership Programme. Established in memory of past Kent Leader and LGA Chairman, Lord Bruce-Lockhart, the programme will help develop the next generation of Council Leaders and Chief Executives by enabling international best practice to be identified and applied locally.

3)Footage of all challenges can be viewed at