East Suffolk Council is committed to the continuing professional development of its Councillors and Co-opted Members. Such a commitment is key to helping Members build on the skills and knowledge which they have, so they can best serve their communities, and respond to an ever-changing environment, particularly in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, so that they can deliver against the five Themes in the new East Suffolk Strategic Plan.
This commitment to Councillors’ growth and development was evidenced by the adoption of the “Member Development Charter and Charter Plus” status, at the first meeting of the new Council, on 22 May 2019, and a clear aim to be re-accredited with the award, when it was due to be re-assessed in 2020.
A cross-party Member Development Steering Group was formed to champion Member Development and ensure that the needs of Councillors and Co-opted Members were met.
A Member Development Strategy and Action Plan has been drawn up by the Steering Group and this was approved by Full Council in July 2020. The Strategy sets out a clear and detailed programme as to how the Council will help Members in developing their knowledge and skills, as well as signposting the support which will be available to prospective candidates who wish to stand for election, in the future.
The Strategy also recognises that it is a great benefit to have Councillors and Co-opted Members from a range of different backgrounds, as they bring with them a wealth of varying experiences. It also means that they have different training needs and learning styles. In response to this, the Steering Group approves a Training and Development Schedule each year, setting out briefings and courses which will be available to Members. The contents of the annual programme is based on feedback and requests from Members as to what they would like to learn more about, and any training required to keep up to date with legislation and corporate priorities.
If you wish to know any more about the Member Development Charter/Charter Plus, and the Strategy, please contact Democratic Services.