As a result of its commitment to member development and excellent support to councillors, East Suffolk Council has once again been accredited with the coveted ‘gold standard’ Councillor Development Charter Plus Award.
Developed by the Local Government Association and the nine Regional Employers’ Organisations, the Charter Plus Award is only given to those councils that can demonstrate their strategic approach and continuous commitment to councillors’ learning and development needs.
To obtain this prestigious award, the Council must undergo a rigorous assessment every three years by an independent panel of assessors and submit evidence that the Council continues to meet the Charter Plus criteria.
This accreditation is recognition that East Suffolk Council has achieved best practice in the way it provides support, learning and development opportunities for its elected members, ensuring they have the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively represent their communities.
Councillor development activities are led by a cross-party Member Development Steering Group.Activities include the creation of a Member Development Strategy, a comprehensive induction programme for all new councillors, an annual training programme and a Member Development Plan process that assesses member’s individual training needs on an annual basis.
Cllr Caroline Topping, Leader of East Suffolk Council and Chair of the Member Development Steering Group, said: “I am delighted that East Suffolk Council has, again, been recognised for continuing to be at the forefront of member development. Now more than ever, councillors have an extremely important role to play in our communities and the Council is committed to ensuring that all members receive the training and development they need to fulfil their roles whatever their circumstances or experience.
“This accreditation shows that the Council prioritises the improvement and wellbeing of its councillors to ensure that they are best placed to serve their communities in the most effective way. We are very grateful for the support which our Democratic Services team and other officers have provided, in helping the Council to achieve this accreditation. I would also like to thank the external stakeholders who took part in this process and were integral to our achieving the coveted award.”
Mark Palmer, the Lead Assessor for the East of England Local Government Association said: “East Suffolk Council has successfully achieved the EELGA Councillor Development Charter Plus award for demonstrating to an independent Assessment Team a strong commitment to councillor development and support. They provided robust evidence and examples of how councillor development was supporting the delivery of the Council’s Strategic Plan for the benefit of the residents of East Suffolk. This is a significant achievement for the new Council.
“Councillor development is clearly led by the political leadership of the Council and has the support and buy in of councillors on a cross party basis. Councillors and officers, through the Member Development Steering Group, are leading and supporting the strategic approach to councillor development.”