Agenda item

Member Development and Training - Policy and Strategy (Agenda Item 6)

Report of the Executive Member (Governance).

 

The appendix “Member Development and Training Strategy” document is to follow.

Minutes:

The Member Development Team Leader presented the report which sought Members’ views on the new Member Development and Training Policy and the revisions to the Member Development and Training Strategy, previously agreed by the Council in March 2007.

 

The Council had established a cross-party Member Development Panel in September 2008 to progress work on achieving the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) Charter on Elected Member Development and Training and had signed up to the principles of achieving the Charter by March 2009.  The adoption of the revised Strategy and the new Policy formed an essential part of this process.

 

The objectives of the Charter were to:

 

  • Be fully committed to developing Elected Members in order to achieve the Council’s aims and objectives.
  • Adopt the Member-led strategic approach to Elected Member development.
  • Have a Member learning and development plan in place that clearly identified the differences that development activities would make.
  • See that learning and development was effective in building capacity.
  • Address widely development matters to promote work-life balance and citizenship.

 

The main role of the Member Development Panel was to:

 

  • Prepare the future Member Development and Training Programme and to identify the best ways of providing this training, including preparing an individual training plan for all Members based on their role on the Council and their identified needs established through the self-assessment questionnaire.

  • Progress work on achieving the Charter.

  • Evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of the training and make changes in the work programme.

  • Share best practice amongst Members.

  • To ensure that the Member Support Action Plan, developed in liaison with the Local Government Information Unit, is progressed and delivered.

  • Develop projects to improve access to local democracy and, in particular, to develop links with local schools and youth groups.

Members were advised that the Council was due to be assessed for Charter status on 4 November 2008.  The inspection would be made over one day and would be carried out by three Inspectors appointed by South East Employers, who would undertake a series of interviews with officers and Members, including the Leader of the Council, representatives of the opposition Groups, the Member Development Panel, and five to eight other Members of the Council, politically balanced and representing a cross-section of Members by experience, as well as the Chief Executive, Member Services Manager and Member Development Team Leader.

 

The existing Strategy had been updated and enhanced in line with best practice.  The Policy had been formulated in line with the EERA framework and adapted to fit the Council’s needs and was aimed at the provision of development and training for Members, which would be tailored to meet their individual needs and aspirations.

 

In answer to questions, the following points were noted:

 

  • The value of the Charter would extend beyond the outcome of the current debate on the Local Government Review.
  • The Government’s evolving modernisation agenda and the requirement to make Members community leaders placed an increasing emphasis on the Council’s approach to enhancing Member development, training and support. 
  • A key aim of the Charter assessment process would be to enable the Inspectors to gain an overview of how the Council was dealing with Member development and training.
  • The process had commenced last year with a much enhanced induction process for new Members.
  • The policy recognised that Members had differing circumstances and needs and the programme would be developed with that in mind and in response to the findings of the recent Member survey.

 

In concluding its discussion, the Panel

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted and

 

RECOMMEND to Overview and Scrutiny Commission to support the adoption of the new Member Development and Training Policy and the revisions to the Member Development and Training Strategy.

Supporting documents: