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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 06/02/2007


Member Development Policy

Background and Resources

The Head of Committee and Member Services has overall responsibility for Member development and is supported in this by Committee Services and the Personnel Section. Other Officer also provide valuable support through the provision of in-house training sessions. The Member Development SIG leads on development issues for Members.

Financial Resources (14,500 in 2006/7) have been allocated to fund Member training and development. The Council has invested in the provision of PC’s and appropriate training in the use of these to Members to enable them better to carry out their responsibilities better. IT support is provided by a member of the IT helpdesk.

This Policy aims to ensure that the resources available for Member development are effectively used and that emerging needs both for individuals and across the board are identified and addressed. Most Members have experienced development through their participation as individuals or via groups in briefings sessions, conferences and seminars.

The skill set recommended to Members will include:
presentation and communication (for example speech writing and making, debating);
participating in and chairing meetings;
information technology ;
media awareness (for example making statements or doing interviews for the press);
interpreting and evaluating information;
collaboration and networking;
interpersonal skills
Research skills

Many Members may already possess these skills, but without an audit it is difficult to assess training or refresher needs.

Development Audit
All members will be involved in a survey to be carried out annually to identify their views on training provided, their background knowledge and areas for development. A draft template is attached which will be piloted on a smaller group of Members, initially the Executive and Overview and Scrutiny Chairmen.

The starting point for the strategy is to support members when they join the Council for the first time or when they are re-elected. They are provided immediately with a comprehensive induction package. The current induction programme is being reviewed to ensure that it achieves the right balance between skills based training and information-giving sessions.

One to One interviews
It is proposed that all Members of the Council are encouraged to have a one to one interview with their leader (or a senior member of their political group) to identify their individual development needs and to draw up an action plan to meet these needs. This will dove-tail with the development audit.

Annual Training Programme
Information from the one-to-one interviews, and the subsequent audit, will be used by the Member Development SIG. The group will meet regularly (approximately 3 times a year) to plan and co-ordinate member development activities and address individual and group needs. They will devise and monitor an annual Training Programme available to all Members. It may also be agreed that certain training events should be specifically tailored for both Members and Officers.

Individual learning plan
The Member SIG will be encouraged to consider a pilot of Individual Learning Plans for Members. An example is attached.

Evaluation and Records
All Member development activities will be evaluated. The in house system used by staff to evaluate their training will be further developed to cover Member training activities. This will allow for electronic records and feedback forms, and will monitor the use of the resources available.

Role of Political Groups
Each political group has been asked to nominate a senior member to provide a link between the groups and with relevant Council officers. Groups are asked to assist their members in informal ways, e.g. mentoring of junior members by more senior members and to encourage the use of the one to one interviews and attendance at training sessions.

Collaboration with Other Authorities
The Member Development SIG will seek out opportunities for the delivery of joint member training activities with other Councils and agencies thereby sharing and disseminating best practice. Measures are currently being discussed with Guildford and Woking Borough Councils.

The Member Development SIG will identify a mechanism and criteria for the fair and equitable allocation of places to members who wish to seek relevant qualifications.

As support to members, Waverley has developed more diverse methods of sharing information, e.g., a monthly member newsletter (Outlook) has been produced. Therefore, in collaboration with officers across the Council, it will be a priority to streamline the dissemination of information to Members, making full use of the latest technology. An intranet library of training resources will be developed, in addition to the library of webcast events.

Member Development Charter

This Policy has been influenced by the Improvement and Development Agency and South East Employers. It has been shaped by discussions of each political group who together comprise the Members Development SIG.

Development Audit

Self Development

L = low need M = medium need H = high need

Adapting to change
Acting cooperatively
Managing time
Balancing the needs of home and work
Analysing and Interpreting Information
Managing your own stress
Exercising Community Leadership
Managing your own safety
Effective reading skills
Managing conflicting demands
Coaching/Empowering others
Effectively contributing in meetings
Giving formal Presentations
Voice and Personal Presentation Skills
Basic keyboard skills
Use of e-mail/internet
Skills and Knowledge Development

Presenting a positive image of the Council
Making contributions in meetings
Chairing meetings
Facilitating groups
Analysing complex data
Project Management
Monitoring and analysing Performance
Evaluating options to improve services
Understanding and analysing financial data
Dealing with the media
Developing positive relationships with officers
Actively contributing to policy formation
Decision making
Investigation Skills
Negotiating skills
Specialist areas - please specify
New decision making structures
Overview and scrutiny process
Local authority’s core values
Standing orders
Budgetary process
Local authority structure and services
Chairing skills
Facilitating discussions
Dealing with Conflict
Leading Groups
Increasing Participation
Developing strategies with groups
Communicating policies
Developing & managing constructive relationships
Identifying community needs with groups
Interviewing Skills
Identifying Risky Situations
Following up issues
Counselling Skills
Different Methods of consultations i.e. focus groups
Awareness of equality issues
Awareness of forthcoming legislation
Political context

Understanding CPA
Promoting social & economic well-being
Strategy Development
Developing Partnerships with other organisations
Members Name and Role:


•Identified strengths
•Identified areas for development
•Preferred learning style, and implications for development
Plan of development actions

-What are the development objectives?
-How it will they be achieved ( e.g Mentoring, Open learning etc.) ?
-What support is available?


-How I will know the objective has been achieved?

•Review Process with Mentor or Snr member of group

-Immediately after the action
- Review when the knowledge/skills have been put into practice