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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 08/04/2008
Member Development Special Interest Group 26/02/08



APPENDIX L
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

MEMBER DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP
26TH FEBRUARY 2008

REPORT TO THE MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE ON 8TH APRIL 2008

A. APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN

A.1 Councillor Mrs P M Frost was appointed Chairman of the Member Development Special Interest Group (SIG) for the Council Year 2007/08.

B. TERMS OF REFERENCE

B.1 The SIG endorsed its Terms of Reference. C. MEMBER DEVELOPMENT CHARTER – PROGRESS TO DATE

C.1 The SIG noted that the Council had made significant progress since signing its commitment to achieving the South East Charter for Elected Member Development. And, now that the SIG had been re-established, Members agreed that they needed to work hard on communicating with other Councillors about the benefits of the Charter and to increase motivation to achieving it.

C.2 The SIG noted the work that had been completed and tasks which needed to be undertaken. Members discussed, in particular, the need to look at the type of training offered to Members as, although the Council was offering many chances to train, it was important to make sure that the training was essential and was meeting their needs.

C.3 The SIG recognised the importance of the work involved in achieving charter status being lead by Members and supported by Officers. Consequently, Members reviewed the action plan and updated the member responsibilities. Officers would contact members, in due course, to discuss the actions and the work this would entail.

D. TRAINING NEEDS ANALYSIS

D.1 The SIG noted the Training Needs Analysis (TNA) framework which had been agreed by Members prior to the elections in May 2007. Members agreed that the format did not need to be changed, although agreed that there should be the addition of “specific projects” to the form. Members also felt that Councillors should be strongly encouraged to complete the form. Comments from Councillors were important as they would be used to shape the Training Programme for the following year, and they would ensure that the Council was offering both group and individual training opportunities that met the needs of its Members.

D.2 In order to give Members enough time to complete the forms, it was agreed that they should be completed by 28th March 2008 and Councillors Mrs James and Mrs King, Morgan and Reed were tasked with encouraging a 100% response rate from their respective Groups. Furthermore, Members agreed that the possibility of running a personal development review scheme with specific Members was an interesting proposal but members wanted more information before agreeing to this.
i) the format of the Training Needs Analysis questionnaire be approved; ii) the training needs analysis be sent to all Councillors for completion by Friday 28th March; and

iii) a more detailed report on the possibility of piloting a personal development review scheme be brought to a future meeting.

E. 2007 INDUCTION PROGRAMME AND ANNUAL TRAINING PROGRAMME - FEEDBACK

E.1 The SIG noted feedback from Councillors following the May 2007 induction programme. Members were pleased with the number of positive responses to the programme, particularly those in relation to the Member Buddying Scheme. However, it was noted that, in future, it was important that a clearer explanation of the buddying scheme was provided to ensure that Councillors made full use of the facility. The suggestion, from one member, for ‘buddying business cards’ was considered to be a good idea to help with this. Members also suggested that, in future, officers should formalise a cross-party buddying scheme, particularly for groups where there were only a few Members.

E.2 The SIG noted that some feedback seemed to focus around the intensity of the programme. Members had felt that the programme was very intensive and some had not been given notice of the training programme until the induction evening. Officers confirmed that dates had been sent out to political agent’s acting on behalf of the Groups in advance of the elections with nomination packs. Members of the SIG confirmed that this was the case and they had already raised this issue with their agents.

E.3 Some feedback reflected on the expertise of the presenters delivering the induction programme. Officers confirmed that most of the sessions had been delivered in-house which had proved to be excellent value for money, and, in hindsight, they could have used more of the Member training budget to fund external consultants. Members had already found training sessions facilitated by Trevor Roberts Associates particularly beneficial. However, these courses were expensive. In view of the comments raised by Members, officers would speak to Human Resources about the need to offer presentation skills courses for those officers who were involved in Member Development sessions.


E.4 The SIG noted that the Annual training programme 2008/09 would be drafted following receipt of comments from the training needs analysis. Suggestions for future-training courses would also be sought from officers and a programme would be brought back to the next meeting of the SIG for consideration. Courses which the SIG identified as priorities, were Chairman’s training and a course covering the Role of Councillors on planning.

E.5 During discussion on this item, Members discussed the need to improve the induction process for those Members that were elected from Bye-Elections, and to ensure that there was a similar Induction programme (maybe done jointly with another authority) as to that delivered in May.

E.6 The SIG also suggested that a summary document explaining the types and frequency of meetings including usual meeting times was useful at election times, prior to councillors making decisions about which committees they were not interested in serving on as well as for outside body appointments. Members had little idea about the level of commitment required from them when they were appointed, and for some, particularly for those that worked, this information was essential. Officers agreed that, in future, they would provide members with this information.

RESOLVED that

(i) the comments raised from the 2007 induction programme be noted; (ii) the Annual training programme be drafted and brought back to the next meeting; and

(iii) Officers produce a spreadsheet outlining the level of commitment required from Members for specific Committees and SIGs before the Annual Meeting of Council.

F MEMBER DEVELOPMENT BULLETIN

F.1 The SIG agreed that communication with Members about work the Council was undertaking to achieve accreditation was important. Members agreed that a Member Development Bulletin was a simple way of providing Members with this information and asked for a draft Bulletin to be brought back to the next meeting.

G DATE OF NEXT MEETING



Present at the Meeting

Cllr Mrs P M Frost (Chairman)
Cllr Mrs D M James
Cllr Mrs C A King
Cllr P B Isherwood
Cllr B J Morgan
Cllr K T Reed

The following officers were present:

Emma Dearsley
Emma McQuillan
Robin Pellow


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