OUTGOING council leader Jason Kitcat has been recognised with a national award for his leadership.

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Jason Kitcat won the Judges’ Special Award for Contribution to Local Government at the 2015 C’llr Achievement Award.

The Green leader was selected for the award for his longevity of service and the contribution he has made to "improve outcomes for his local community".

Coun Kitcat collected the award in person at the sixth annual awards ceremony, organised by think tank Local Government Information Unit and fund managers CCLA, as it was held last night at the Lord Mayor’s Parlour in Westminster City Council.

The outgoing leader, who has announced he will take a break from politics after May, was the only Sussex politician to make the shortlist for ten awards featuring more than 50 councillors from around the country.

Coun Kitcat told The Argus: "It's very nice and I am very honoured.

"It's recognition of a lot of hard work by a lot of people in the council and beyond and it's really good for Brighton.

"I understand that it was a unanimous decision by the judges so it is really nice to get that recognition.

"Three years ago I was shortlisted for these awards and we had three Green councillors shortlisted last year so hopefully, putting aside party politics, people can see the city is in a better position than four years ago."

Judges said that Coun Kitcat was a "first time leader in challenging circumstances" and had implemented some impressive and innovative development initiatives.

The judges added he has demonstrated strong leadership throughout local government in "cutting edge areas".

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of LGiU, said: “The 2015 C’llr Award winners have set the bar for all councillors with their exemplary leadership and passion for change.

"We congratulate Councillor Kitcat and look forward to hearing about his future success.”