Your Councillors


DEMOCRACY AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE

11 November 2020

 

Member Training Update

 

Final Decision-Maker

Democracy and General Purposes

Lead Director

Director of Finance and Business Improvement

Lead Officer and Report Author

Angela Woodhouse, Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Classification

Public

 

Wards affected

All

 

 

Executive Summary

 

The report sets out the results of the member survey on training and an update on the plans for training in 2020-21

Purpose of Report

 

Decision

 

 

This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

To note the update on Councillor Training and approve the proposed additions to the programme for 2020-21 set out in 3.2 and 3.3.

 

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Democracy and General Purposes Committee

1 July 2020

Democracy and General Purposes Committee

11 November 2020



Member Training Update

 

1.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

The four Strategic Plan objectives are:

           Embracing Growth and Enabling

Infrastructure

         Safe, Clean and Green

         Homes and Communities

         A Thriving Place

 

We do not expect the recommendations will

by themselves materially affect achievement

of corporate priorities. However, they will

support the Councilís overall achievement of

its aims as set out in the report

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Cross Cutting Objectives

The four cross-cutting objectives are:

         Heritage is Respected

         Health Inequalities are Addressed and

Reduced

         Deprivation and Social Mobility is

Improved

         Biodiversity and Environmental

Sustainability is respected

 

The member training programme should be

designed with the cross-cutting objectives in

mind.

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Risk Management

Covered in the risk section

 

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Financial

The proposals set out in the recommendation are all within already approved budgetary headings and so need no new funding for implementation.

 

Section 151 Officer & Finance Team

Staffing

We will deliver the recommendations with our current staffing.

 

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Legal

There are no legal implications. However,

under Section 3 of the Local Government Act

1999 (as amended) the Council as a best

value authority has a statutory duty to

secure continuous improvement in the way in

which its functions are exercised having

regard to a combination of economy,

efficiency and effectiveness. The Learning

and Development Charter and this report

assist in demonstrating best value and

compliance with the statutory duty.

Principal Solicitor Contentious and Corporate Governance

Privacy and Data Protection

No impact

Policy and Information Team

Equalities

The recommendations do not propose a change in service therefore will not require an equalities impact assessment

Policy & Information Manager

Public Health

 

 

no impact

Public Health Officer

Crime and Disorder

No impact

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Procurement

On accepting the recommendations, the Council will then follow procurement exercises for the external training identified We will complete those exercises in line with financial procedure rules.

 

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

 

 

 

 

 

2.   †††† INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

2.1     On the 1st of July Democracy and General Purposes considered a report on the Member training programme for 2020-21.

 

2.2     The Committee agreed to a short survey of Councillors to assess training needed and inform the training programme for 2020-21. This is in-line with the Member Development Charter:

 

The Charter sets out the following criteria for Member Development:

 

         There is a clear commitment to councillor development and support

         The council has a strategic approach to councillor learning and development

         Learning and development is effective in building capacity.

 

 

2.3     A survey was undertaken in August 2020 covering learning delivery methods, general knowledge development, skills development, expanding service knowledge and service satisfaction. 28 Councillors responded to the survey. The survey results are attached at Appendix A for information.

 

2.4     Preferred methods of learning were formal training facilitated sessions, online courses and modules and meetings with officers as needed. These are all approaches we would undertake in a usual training programme. However, with the current pandemic restrictions we are unable to offer any face to face or classroom style training. We will ensure that we re-introduce this when it is appropriate to do so.

 

2.5     Interestingly nearly 70% of respondents indicated that they would like to increase their knowledge of governance, procedures and the constitution, followed by understanding the councilís services and policies. Member briefings are regularly scheduled to increase knowledge of services as well as access to council officers and external webinars if Councillors have particular training needs. We have not held training on the constitution and procedures so this will be scheduled as a webinar in January 2021.

 

2.6     We also asked about particular skills the top two identified were Questioning Skills and Social Media. We will commission external training on these two areas using the Member Training Budget and add this to the training programme in 2021. The other areas of diplomacy negotiation, presentation skills, handling the media and networking and advocacy identified will be put forward for the programme for 2021-22.

 

2.7     The following services were identified by 12 or more Councillors as areas where they would like to expand their knowledge:

 

         Housing and Homelessness

         Benefits System

         Community Protection

         Local Government Finance

         Local Plan

 

††††††††† These areas can be included in the committee and Member briefings.

 

1.8 † The majority of respondents were happy with the support provided to them. Some dissatisfaction has been expressed with the legal advice and technology and equipment available. This feedback will be passed on to the Legal Team and we will encourage all members who have problems with technology and equipment to ask for support via our member bulletin.

 

 

3.        AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

3.1     In-light of the pandemic the training and methods of training available are limited. The proposal is that we continue with Councillor briefings and trainings virtually.

 

3.2     The following training will be added to the programme:

         In-House - Training on the constitution and rules and procedures

         Externally Facilitated Questioning Skills and Social Media Training

 

3.3     The following topics be included in Member Briefings:

 

         Housing and Homelessness

         Benefits System

         Community Protection

         Local Government Finance

         Local Plan

 

3.4     The Committee could choose not to add any additional training or tailor the briefings to the topics requested by Councillors.

 

 

4.        PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

4.1     The Committee is asked to agree to the changes to Member training programme in order to facilitate councillor views and needs expressed in the survey responses. The proposal is to continue training in a virtual environment as required under the current restrictions imposed because of the pandemic.

 

 

 

5. †††† RISK

 

5.1 ††† This report has no risk management implications.

 

 

6.††††† CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

6.1††† Committees can propose and agree training according to their respective needs and requirements in the constitution. A survey was conducted open to all Councillors and this has been used to inform the development of the Member Training Programme for 2020-21.

 

 

7. †††† NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE

†††††††††† DECISION

 

7.1 †† Subject to pandemic restrictions the training programme will be delivered in 2020-21, within budget and an update† report will come back to this Committee at the end of the municipal year.

 

 

 

 

8.           REPORT APPENDICES

 

The following document is to be published with this report and form part of the report:

Appendix A: Member Survey Results

 

 

9.        BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

None