The Portfolio Holder for Democracy, Transparency and Communications presented an update on the draft Training Strategy which included the following points:
· An update on meetings of the Member Development Working Group which had considered post-election induction training, refresher training, information for prospective Councillors and current and future training needs.
· Key points had emerged such as Councillors needing to be aware that some Committees are statutory and require Members to be trained before sitting on the Committee eg. Licensing & Enforcement, Planning.
· Attendance at mandatory training could be published on the Council’s website.
· A Member training survey was circulated to all Councillors, with a response rate of 33%, although useful information was collected.
· The benefits of ongoing refresher training needed to be made clear as legislation changes and Members need to be kept up to date.
· Safeguarding has recently been added to the list of mandatory training and it was noted that, although requested specifically by Councillors and offered at a cost on different days and times, only just over 50% of Councillors responded to the Democratic Services Team.
· It was suggested that attendance at mandatory training should be added as a key performance indicator on a quarterly basis and potentially published on Members’ profiles on the website in order to encourage attendance which, to date, has not been good.
· A Member Development Plan will shortly be prepared for the forthcoming elections which will include mandatory training immediately after the election, followed by phased training due to the large volume of information for new Councillors.
· It is difficult to plan the resource requirements for training as this depends largely on the form of delivery, whether in person or online.
· Some training could be offered in-house such as Planning and some online.
· The Member Development Working Group is proposing an estimated budget for training after the elections of £10,000.
The Portfolio Holder outlined the recommendations which would be made to Cabinet and included the following:
· To adopt the Member Development plan which specifies the mandatory elements of training.
· That the Code of Conduct is revised so as to recognise the mandatory training and that failure to attend would be a breach of the Code of Conduct.
· Attendance at mandatory training would be uploaded to Members’ profiles on the website and included in the key performance indicators in the quarterly performance report.
· It was recognised that, on occasions, Councillors may not be able to attend mandatory training and methods should be available to enable Members to catch up.
· A budget of £10,000 be made available.
In response to questions from Members, the following points were made:
· Regarding training for Councillors elected mid-term, it was noted that it was difficult to obtain the necessary knowledge, particularly where the new Member did not have the support of a political group. It was recognised that the assistance of the Democratic Services team was invaluable and that key learning resources, such as videos and online training should be made available to new Councillors.
· It was proposed to develop a list of key officer contacts to facilitate induction.
· It was noted that refresher training is important as Members need to be kept up to date with changes to legislation.
· It was further noted that training on planning and licensing would also be helpful for Councillors who are not on those Committees but may respond to planning or licensing applications.
· The Mod.Gov library would be checked and updated for training content as this is a useful central resource.
· It was recognised that Councillors needed to have training in IT from the start in order to access other training.
· It would be beneficial to look at the training provided by other local authorities.
· Other resources are available such as through the LGA or resources provided to officers and would be followed up by the Portfolio Holder.
The Portfolio Holder was thanked for her update.