Members considered a review of Member development for the previous civic year. The Democratic and Civic Officer introduced the report and highlighted the following points:
· Member development sessions have had to be cancelled due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Virtual options to deliver training had been explored as an alternative;
· ‘Chairing Skills’ had been the title of the first workshop; feedback was still being received, but so far those that had responded were very satisfied. There had been some suggestions of improvements, but overall the training was recommended for other Members.
Members then asked questions of officers and also provided comment – further information was provided:
· Roleplaying for chairing meetings could be useful to Members. This could include challenging situations and how to deal with them;
· There were particular accounting methods used in local government – it would be useful to have a short guide to these;
· Support from the political groups would be appreciated as officers cannot mandate Members to attend training;
· One way of engaging more Members may be to lay on a single face to face meeting via video, whilst asking them if there was any particular member development they were interested in;
· Snippets of meetings that had gone well, or had even gone badly would be useful as training materials;
· It can be awkward for an officer to ask Members what their strengths and weaknesses were, however this was easier at the start of a Member’s term of office. Giving training to those more senior Members could be something to be looked at by the Member Development Group;
· Need to bear in mind those that have outside commitments when arranging training. The training needed to be a mixture of face to face, and online in the future;
· Ongoing training would be helpful to Members. There can be a lot of training within the first few weeks of becoming a Councillor, but to some if felt like the training sessions were fewer in number further into the 4 year cycle.
(1) Accept this report as an accurate reflection of Member Development for 2019/20 and 2020/21 to date; and
(2) Note the suggestions for future development opportunities, to be considered by the Member Development Group.