Council’s graduates win top prize at national competition (2013)

Officers on our graduate scheme have come first in the Young Local Authority of the Year competition with their arguments around complexity theory.

The eighth annual competition was held at the University of Lancaster last week (Tuesday 19 February) and over 50 delegates from a wide range of occupation and backgrounds took part.

The competition was great fun and it was good to meet other young people starting their early careers in local government and hear about their experiences so far.


Claire Poolman and Sam Facer, who were both recruited to Leeds City Council from local universities last summer in the first ever cross council graduate recruitment scheme, volunteered for the opportunity earlier in the year.

We are so pleased to have won the completion after putting a lot of hard work into our presentation. Being on the graduate scheme at the council has offered us a wide range of opportunities and we look forward to whatever challenge is next.


As part of the competition the team have to give a six minute presentation and then answer a question from the judging panel. Then in a more informal session the team asks itself a question on any topic and then has to discuss this for three minutes with no notes.

Their presentation “Between Birds & Bicycles; Why Local Government Needs to Think About Complexity” argued that organisations should recognise that systems are not mechanical and that societies are not easy to fix - we need to listen and experiment to move forward.

It is fantastic that two of our officers on the graduate scheme have come away with this outstanding result.

We have taken in eight other graduates, as well as Clare and Sam, since last summer as part of a drive to make the workforce of the council more diverse. The scheme offers graduates wishing to pursue a career in local government, an insight into who the council works and makes a positive impact with the communities of Leeds.

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council