Arup, the global employee-owned sustainability and engineering consultancy, has won a prestigious award for its approach to public-private partnerships in Birmingham.

The Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards 2023 recognise in particular the work Arup and Birmingham City Council carried out in collaboration before, during and since the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which were launched so spectacularly a year ago on 28 July.

The engagement and legacy aspects of the Games have been highlighted as a powerful example of partnership in practice. The value of private sector resources and expertise applied to a public sector event as well as the transfer of appropriate enterprise skills that added resilience to the city council’s plans and continues to do so were hugely welcome at a key moment in the city’s history.

This has allowed the council to move forward with further commercial and cultural programmes into 2023, for example, as well as successfully bring the Perry Barr masterplan to fruition.

Arup’s ability to add this value and bring a fresh perspective to many of the key aspects of the Games preparation and delivery, from transport, venue design and legacy, also continues to shape and benefit local communities today.

Arup is a collective of designers, engineers and sustainability advisors working together to shape a better world. Later this year, Arup is moving its Midlands office to the very heart of Birmingham, occupying three floors in the cutting edge One Centenary Way building at the Paradise development.

The LGC Awards recognise Arup’s influence on the city-wide preparedness for the Games and how it helped the city maximise the potential of the audiences, media attention and profile throughout 2022. By ensuring a joined up approach to transport, logistics and the visitor experience, Arup was at the heart of the maximising the impact of the Games.

In addition to the above, Arup were instrumental in the design, planning and technical delivery of the redevelopment of the Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr and the design of Sandwell Aquatics Centre – both of which played a pivotal role in last summer’s games and are driving a legacy of regeneration and investment for both areas of the city.

More than 1,200 local authority professionals gathered at Grosvenor House, London to celebrate the very best in local government at the LGC Awards last Thursday.

The LGC Awards are the biggest and best ceremony recognising the achievements of officers and politicians in local government – and last week’s ceremony was the 27th time the Local Government Chronicle event has been held. The awards see entries from council teams across the UK, with the aim being to promote new innovation that can inspire other councils to improve their own services.

As well as the boost to civic pride and cultural recognition, the Games continues to provide a strong legacy in terms of wider regeneration and global profile, with a global audience of more than a billion people.

Birmingham Festival 2023 underlines this legacy with an outdoor festival taking over Centenary Square to celebrate the first anniversary of Birmingham 2022.

Abigaile Bromfield, Director at Arup and Head of Engagement and Legacy for the partnership with Birmingham City Council, said:

"The partnership between Birmingham City Council and Arup demonstrates how the public and private sector can operate as one to provide efficient, integrated, and enhanced services for the benefit of the millions of citizens who depend on them at a scale that was unprecedented.

‘Last summer, Birmingham hosted the 22nd Commonwealth Games – the largest multi-sport event and cultural programme to be held in England since the 2012 London Olympics. It featured thousands of world-class athletes and over 1.5 million ticketed spectators. With only half of the usual timeframe to ready venues and the city, as well as occurring in the aftermath of the global Covid-19 pandemic, delivering an impactful Games was critical.

‘The Games were a huge success for all of those involved. Arup maximised its impact alongside the city with a wide-reaching programme that highlighted the shared approach and the benefits of a true public private partnership in action."

Arup was responsible for a number of Games programmes and improvements, including both public and private transport which in Perry Barr incorporated new public realm and public space, as well as legacy programmes, especially in and around the Perry Barr masterplan.

Craig Cooper, Strategic Director of City Operations at Birmingham City Council said:

"Arup is a highly valued partner of the city and continues to deliver high value outcomes for the council and the people of Birmingham. The exemplary partnership working during the Commonwealth Games and since has helped bring success to the city and region while underlining our appeal as a growing global and sustainable city."

LGC editor Sarah Calkin said:

"With shortlisted entries from councils in Cornwall, Aberdeen Northern Ireland and everywhere in between, the LGC Awards is a truly national celebration of local government and its many remarkable achievements. The fantastic Birmingham partnership recognised its own capacity to put the city on the world map while the community remained central to the aims and objectives of the Games.

‘An exemplary project delivering an international event in unique and highly pressurised circumstances, while retaining a strong emphasis on community engagement with strong evidence of transferring private sector skills into the public sector and delivering a strong community legacy and pride in the city."

Arup is looking ahead to the 2023 Birmingham Festival which commemorates the 22 Games in July and to the next Commonwealth games in Victoria, Australia, in 2026.