Proposal for Establishing the Member Development Plan 2019/20

Background

The Member Development plan has historically been informed from the following sources:

The requirements for the Member Development Plan are set out in the context of the Local Government Measure 2011 and the Council’s determination that the Democratic Services Committee as part of its functions/terms of reference have responsibility:

•          To secure the provision of reasonable training and development opportunities for Councillors and prepare reports and recommendations to Council in relation to such provision;

 

•          To appoint the Council’s Member Development Champion;

 

The plan is endorsed by Democratic Services Committee who also have an important role in reviewing the evaluation outcomes for the content and delivery of learning. 

In supporting Member development, the Organisational Development team (OD) work closely with the Democratic Services Manager (Head of Democratic Services) and the Chair of the Democratic Services Committee, to ensure that an effective and timely programme is delivered.  Earlier this year following the Council’s annual Investors in People Review and discussions at the People Strategy Group work was undertaken to explore:

1.      Better ways of engaging with Members about their learning and development needs

2.      Any emerging best practice

3.      A more modern approach to learning, predicting future skills sets that support the principles of the learning organisation and our Core Values.  

Research

Research entitled “The 21st Century Councillor”, was undertaken by the University of Birmingham working with the Employers Organisation and followed an earlier study on the 21st Century Public Servant.  Focusing on the changing landscape for Councillors the research sought to address 3 key questions:

What is the range of roles that the 21st Century Councillor is required to perform?

What are the competencies and skills that councillors require to undertake these roles?

What are the support and training requirements of these roles?

The research stated that Councillors see their role changing in the context of the following challenges:

·         Perma –austerity - the financial pressures facing their local authorities.

·         Changing citizen expectations- brought on by technological change, austerity & other social changes such as the decline in deference within society.

·         New technologies - new opportunities for real time engagement & use of social media.

·         Different scales of working - increasingly complex partnership and collaborative working arrangements.

·         Changing boundaries and organisation of public services - increased complexity and diversity of service delivery structures with the growing importance of community involvement.

It also identifies what the emerging roles are and offers a model through which councillor careers, and development can be best explored and to consider how they can be supported to perform these roles effectively.

Some of these roles will not be new, but have an increased significance whilst others are now emerging as a focus for Councillors operating in the current and future context:

Key roles for the future:

Description

Steward of Place

Working across the locality in partnership with others.

Advocate

Acting to represent the interests of all citizens

Buffer

Seeking to mitigate the impact of austerity on citizens

Sensemaker

Transferring a shift the role of public services and the relationship between institutions and citizen.

Catalyst

Enabling citizens to do things for themselves, having new conversations about what is now possible.

Entrepreneur

Working with citizens and partners to encourage local vitality and develop new solutions.

Orchestrator

Helping broker relationships, work with partners and develop new connections.

 

Proposal

·        To share the research on the 21st Century Councillor as part of a workshop and encourage our Members to discuss the findings within the context of Carmarthenshire County Council.

·        To explore the 21st Century Councillor model and key roles identified for the future.

·         Understand the skill sets required to support these roles, how they can be supported as part of the annual Member Development Plan under two groupings:

 

Ø  Foundational  – Practical and knowledge skills (covered by most existing learning and development)

Ø  Relational – Connective, digital & reflective skills (to be effective as a 21st Century Councillor and covered as part of learning conversations).

 

·         To seek the views of Members on how best they want to be supported and the likely areas they wish to focus on as part of their individual learning conversations. 

·         The outcomes will inform the resourcing, prioritisation and delivery of the Member Development Plan for endorsement by the Democratic Services Committee.

Recommendations

That Democratic Services Committee:

1.      Endorse the proposal for Member engagement on the 21st Century Councillor Model, establishing a new approach to the formulation and delivery of the Member Development Programme. 

2.      Agree the timeline for the formulation of a detailed Members Development Programme.