Sunderland Council recognised for forward-thinking approach at Connected Britain Awards. 

Sunderland Council was awarded Digital Council of the Year at a prestigious industry sector awards event last week. Sunderland was chosen due to its journey to embed fully-digitalised departmental operations, digitally empowered team members and extended reach into local communities.

As one of four shortlisted UK councils including Dorset, Surrey and Worcestershire, Sunderland was praised for its forward-thinking ambitions, digital leadership and the ability to embrace and leverage change across all its operations.

Sunderland Council Awarded As Digital Council Of The Year 2021
Patrick Melia

Accepting the award, Sunderland Council chief executive Patrick Melia said, “It is fantastic for our council, city and the North East as a whole, to be recognised on a national platform.

“We have been confident our collaborative digital plan would have a hugely positive impact on the way our council is operated and subsequently benefit our local communities. But to be singled out amongst our peers is very rewarding.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council added, “This award is testimony to the hard work and dedication of our team over the past year in particular and I extend my thanks to everyone involved.”

In particular, Sunderland’s ‘Thinking Differently’ vision, pioneering social care technology and its ‘Thinking Operating Model’ programme were highlighted for their dynamic, collaborative and forward-thinking sensibilities.

‘Thinking Differently’ is a vision for the Council’s internal organisational transformation. It is a direct reflection of the leadership’s ambition to engage and empower its employees and equip them with the tools and mindset to take risks with measurable impact for residents, communities and businesses.

Sunderland’s digital drives involve the pioneering use of sensors and Assistive Technology (AT) in vulnerable people’s homes, ensuring they are safe when living alone.

The ‘Thinking Operating Model’ is an innovative transformation of the whole Council service areas. It is a radical re-think and digitalisation of areas including 16 Corporate Support Services which is continuously improving 150+ customer journeys.

This award is the latest accolade for Sunderland following huge success in 2020 when it was announced as Smart City of the Year by Digital Leaders.

To find out more about Sunderland Our Smart City’s core themes and initiatives, visit

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