Member Development Budget 2016-2017

Democracy Committee


Is the final decision on the recommendations in this report to be made at this meeting?



Member Development Plan 2016-2017


Final Decision-Maker

Democracy Committee

Lead Director or Head of Service

Dena Smart, Head of HR Shared Service

Lead Officer and Report Author

Catherine Harrison, Mid Kent Learning and Development Manager



Wards affected




This report makes the following recommendations to the final decision-maker:

1.      To approve the Member Development Plan 2016-2017.


2.      To approve the estimated expenditure for the 2016-2017 Member Development budget.




This report relates to the following corporate priorities:

·         Great People











Democracy  Committee

7th July 2016

Member Development Plan 2016-2017





1.1      The report sets out the Member Development Plan for 2015-2016 and the actual spend for last year.


1.2      The report also proposes the plan and estimated expenditure for 2016-2017 for approval.


1.3      There may be additional training needs identified by the Democracy Committee that budget allowing can be included into the plan.



2.                        INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND


2.1      Democracy Committee have the responsibility for approving the Member Development Plan and expected budget spend  for 2016-2017 as proposed in this report


2.2      In 2015/2016, we estimated that the Member Development Plan would spend nearly its entire £11k budget.  The actual spend for last year was £5147.19.  A large amount of this was spent on the Chairing Skills training, at a cost of just over £3k (Appendix I).


2.3      This is under previous years’ spends:

2014/2015        £6752.15

2013/2014        £7795.16

2012/2013        £6281.39


2.4      The Questioning Skills training was scheduled for July 2015, but was cancelled due to a lack of demand.  Respecting Difference training was not scheduled, as in hindsight it was identified that the demand wasn’t sufficient (having already run the programme in 2014) to schedule such an expensive programme.



3.                        AVAILABLE OPTIONS


3.1      The proposed Member Development Plan for 2016-2017 can be seen in Appendix II. 


3.2      There may be additional or alternative needs identified by the Democracy Committee for Members.  There is sufficient budget remaining to meet further training needs should they exist.  If it did impact on the proposed plan for 2016-2017, the plan can be refined or redeveloped if other priorities are identified as being more important or urgent.    


3.3      An alternative would be to take a piecemeal approach and only book activities and events on an ‘ad hoc’ first come, first served basis.  This is not recommended.  Our recommended approach to Member development is preferred as this gives the potential of systematically identifying  conferences/learning activities which will have the biggest impact on supporting the effective performance of Members in their various roles and/or the greatest impact for all Members.





4.1      The proposed Member Development Plan (Appendix II) includes the same conferences as in previous years. An additional conference has been included for Cllr Pickett to attend the LGA Leadership Essentials: Cultural Services conference. A further session on Charing Skills has already been run.


4.2      Currently Member Learning and Development activities are planned by the Mid Kent Learning and Development Manager in consultation with Members and Key Officers, and then Democratic Services support the scheduling and booking process.  Due to the nature of the Council and the way that the elections take place, many of the same learning activities, including conferences, are provided each year.


4.3      This being said there are many more learning activities that are required in line with the needs identified by Members themselves, legislation, central government and those that arise from our commitment to partnership working and our desire to learn from each other and best practice.


4.4      The plan aims to address as many learning needs as possible, for example:

·      Individual skills building

·      Legislative requirements

·      Role related skills

·      Corporate requirements

·      Networking and keeping up-to-date

·      Knowledge and future focus


4.5      As with previous year it is proposed that the key areas for Member Development this year are:-

·      Support and build on existing skills for their role in the community now and in the future

·      Support and build on existing skills for the various roles undertaken within and on behalf of the Council


4.6         It is important to ensure that an effective planning process is in place for all learning activities and that this planning process involves Members.  With a continued commitment to provide value for money in all aspects, it is imperative that careful thought is given to how the Member budget is spent to ensure that maximum value from each activity is achieved.  The responsibility for ensuring value for money rests with everyone and it is vital that all learning is shared effectively with all Members and disseminated widely.





5.1      The Member Development Plan has been developed in consultation with the Democratic Services Officers, and the Heads of Service/lead Managers for the different services who provide development activities, for example Planning and Internal Audit.





6.1      Once the Member Development Plan has been approved, the Democratic Services Officers will schedule into the calendar for the year the briefings and training sessions.


6.2      The Mid Kent Learning and Development Manager will support the Democratic Services Officers in developing any new programmes and identifying any new providers that might be required.


6.3      It is the responsibility of Members and Group Leaders to identify any individual training needs, and subject to checking budget availability with the Mid Kent Learning and Development Manager, make the arrangements to attend the required training. These responsibilities are set out in the Member Development Policy.


6.4      It is also the responsibility of Members and Group Leaders to determine who should attend the conferences identified in the Plan, and to ensure that learning is disseminated and shared with other Members.










Impact on Corporate Priorities

This is a cross-cutting requirement as Member involvement is essential for the delivery of all priorities and good decision making impacts on the whole council.

Head of HR Shared Service

Risk Management

The risks associated with not investing in a planned approach to learning and development are that the investment does not lead to supporting good decisions and the expenditure on learning and development fails to deliver value for money.

Head of HR Shared Service


The annual budget for Member Development and Conferences is £10,600.  This budget will be used to resource the proposed programme set out in Appendix II.

Head of Finance and Resources


The impact on staffing relates to the officer time invested in delivering the learning and development activities to Members

Head of HR Shared Service


There are no legal implications in the general nature of the report, however some of the training relates to the learning and development required for quasi legal committees such as licensing and planning and it is essential members are trained to carry out these roles


Equality Impact Needs Assessment

The training will be delivered flexibly and in line with equality policies to ensure that there is equal access to opportunities.

Policy & Information Manager

Environmental/Sustainable Development

None identified at this time

Head of HR Shared Service

Community Safety

None identified at this time

Head of HR Shared Service

Human Rights Act

None identified at this time

Head of HR Shared Service


The procurement rules will be followed in the process of selecting organisations to deliver the necessary training.

Head of HR Shared Service

Asset Management

None identified at this time

Head of HR Shared Service




The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:

·               Appendix I: Member Development Budget 2015-2016 Actual Spend

·               Appendix II: Member Development Budget 2016-2017