Scottish Borders Council’s finance team has taken the top prize in their category at this year’s Public Finance Awards.

Run by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), the team won the prestigious Scottish Public Sector Finance Team of the Year award. The accolade recognises the achievements of a team in delivering excellence and clear benefits in their own organisation, one or more other organisations in Scotland or to the public finance profession as a whole, through working together efficiently and effectively.

Their winning nomination provided clear evidence of the way in which the team has not only been instrumental in developing a balanced five-year financial plan first approved in 2013/14, but also for having supported the Council to deliver £35.5m (£91m cumulative) of savings through a transformation programme that has involved a Council-wide approach to financial, people and service planning.

Some of the key projects that the team has played a significant role in delivering over the past five years include the return of the Borders Railway, a review of the Council’s ICT services and resultant contract with CGI, establishment of arms-length organisation SB Cares and integrated sport and culture trust Live Borders.

Other projects include the integration of health and social care services through the Health and Social Care Partnership, the first Scottish council to roll out an online payment system to all schools and the replacement to date of more than 16,000 (76%) streetlights across the region with more efficient LED technology.

Councillor George Turnbull, SBC’s executive member for finance said: “This award is a tremendous achievement both for the team and the Council as a whole and I am delighted that their hard work and commitment has been recognised at such a high level.

“The financial challenges that local authorities across the country are facing have been well documented with resource constraints, increasing demand and demographic changes requiring a great deal of financial acumen and ability to ensure that we can balance the books and continue to provide high quality services with the funding available to us.

“The skills and experience of our Finance team are pivotal to this process and they are to be commended for the consistently high quality of their work that brings benefits to people of all ages right across the Borders.”

SBC approved its current Financial Plan on February 20.