THE North-East’s largest local authority is in the running to be named Council of the Year at a prestigious awards ceremony.

Durham County Council has been placed on the shortlist for the top title at the Local Government Chronicle Awards for the second time in just five years.

The authority joins other finalists Derby City Council, Hackney, Oldham, Staffordshire and Wakefield for the awards, to be announced on March 12 at the Grosvenor House Hotel, in London’s Park Lane.

Durham has also been shortlisted in two other categories: Efficiency and Energy Efficiency.

North Yorkshire County Council has been shortlisted in two categories: Children’s Services and Innovation in Commissioning, while North Tyneside Council is a finalist in the Innovation category, neighbouring South Tyneside council is a finalist in the Public Health category and Gateshead Council makes it to the Team of the Year final.

Durham County Council leader Coun Simon Henig said: "We are delighted to have been shortlisted for Council of the Year.

"It is particularly gratifying that although the authority has been in existence for less than five years, this is already the second time we have been shortlisted for this award."