DURHAM County Council has been named the best in the country.

The Labour-led authority, which became a unitary council in 2009, won the overall Council of the Year prize at last night’s (Wednesday, March 12) Local Government Chronicle Awards.

The council was also highly commended in the efficiency category for its work on waste management, recycling and rubbish collection.

In a joint statement, council leader Simon Henig and chief executive George Garlick said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the council and acknowledges the significant progress we have made in a relatively short period of time.

“It also reflects positively on the constructive working relationships we have with different partner organisations and the many different agencies we work with.

“None of this would have been possible without the significant contribution all colleagues have made to improving services and creating an ‘altogether better council’.

“On behalf of the council, we would like to thank everyone for their efforts and significant achievement.”

The awards ceremony was held at Grosvenor House Hotel, London.