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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 24th January, 2012

 

Report of the Chief Executive

 

Member Development Strategy, Member Induction Programme 2012 and Related Matters

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To apprise Members of the draft revised Member Development Strategy and related documentation which will, in turn, be reported to Cabinet on 1st February, 2012.

Recommendations

1.             That the draft Member Development Strategy (including revised Role Descriptions), attached as Appendix A to the report, be endorsed.

2.             That the information set out in Paragraphs 9 and 10 of the report be endorsed for inclusion in the Candidates' Pack.

3.             That the draft Member Induction Programme, as set out in Appendix B to the report, be endorsed, subject to final arrangements being determined by the Chief Executive and Operational Manager (Democratic Services).

4.             That the provision of Member Mentoring and Officer "Buddies", as set out in Appendix C to the report, be offered to all Members following the 2012 election.

5.             That the Framework for Personal Support and Development Interviews for Members, as set out in Paragraphs 17 and 18 of the report, be endorsed.

6.             That the template for Members' Annual Reports, attached as Appendix D to the report, be endorsed.

7.             That the WLGA Framework for Member Development 2011 be recommended for adoption as part of the Council's approach to Member Development.

8.             That Group Leaders be requested to nominate Member Mentors who will be provided with appropriate training prior to the May 2012 election.

9.             That recommendations (1) to (8) above be referred to Cabinet on 1st February, 2012.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To provide for an updated Member Development Strategy and to meet the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011.

2.             To agree the main elements of the Candidates' Pack, to be issued to all those standing in the 2012 election.

3.             To enable officers to progress arrangements for the 2012 Member Induction Programme.

4.             To facilitate the provision of Member Mentoring and Officer "Buddies".

5.             To agree the framework for the holding of Personal Support and Development Interviews for Members.

6.             To provide for the preparation by Members of Annual Reports in accordance with the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011.

7.             To support the provision of Member Development within the Council.

8.             To facilitate the provision for nominated Members of relevant training.

9.             To facilitate Cabinet consideration of the proposals.

Background

2.             Given the forthcoming elections in 2012, the opportunity has been taken to review / update existing documentation in relation to Member Development within the Council.  The Member Development Working Group, which comprises representatives of all political parties on the Council, has met on a number of occasions to consider / comment upon / endorse as appropriate various components which make up the overall Member Development "package".  This report now brings together the work undertaken by the Member Development Working Group for consideration by Cabinet and the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources).

Relevant Issues and Options

3.             The overarching document in relation to Member Development within the Council is the Member Development Strategy.  The existing Strategy dates from March 2007 and has been reviewed / updated.  In doing so, the opportunity has been taken to acknowledge links to the Council’s key corporate documents such as the Corporate Plan and Community Strategy.  Particular regard has also been given to the following areas and the need to meet the requirements of such:

                   the implications of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 (as previously reported to Cabinet on 8th June, 2011.  Guidance on the various elements of the Measure, including provisions relating to the establishment by the Council of a Democratic Services Committee, is still awaited from the Welsh Government)

                   the inclusion of updated Role Descriptions and associated Core Competencies for Members

                   the provision of a clear framework for the undertaking of Personal Support and Development Interviews for Members

                   ensuring robust arrangements for monitoring / reviewing and delivering the overall Member Development Programme.

4.             The existing Strategy contains various Role Profiles for Members. The opportunity has been taken to review these and updated draft versions have been endorsed by the Member Development Working Group.  The inclusion of Role Profiles was an integral part of the criteria on which the Council’s original successful application for Member Development Charter Status was assessed. 

The additions to the previous Role Profiles (which are shown in bold) include:

                   the insertion of a requirement for the Member(s) to commit to relevant training (some of which will be mandatory)

                   obligations under the Council's Code of Conduct

                   Council values and those expected within public office (as alluded to in the Council's Constitution).

5.             The Member Development Working Group considered differing approaches as to how best to identify / deliver the required skills and attributes for Members to undertake the various roles required of them.  The Group considered that the Member Development Framework developed by the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) represented the best approach.

6.             The Framework is divided into the following categories:

                   Role Description - describing the different roles or areas of individual responsibility a Member might have.  Various sections cover the period after selection and before election, the activities that all Members will undertake and specific roles such as Overview and Scrutiny or as a member of the Executive.

                   Knowledge Required - this describes the information that Councillors would need to know or understand to carry out the role(s).

                   Role Skills - the set of skills associated with a particular role description.

                   Effective Member - examples of how a Member might demonstrate effective performance.

                   Learning Methods - suggestions as to how new skills or knowledge might be developed (e.g. guided reading, training, coaching or mentoring).

                   Timescale - whether related to induction, within the first year of office or when a Member considers a specific need to exist.

7.             The revised draft Strategy (with the changes as endorsed by the Member Development Working Group shown in bold), which is attached as Appendix A to the report, also takes into account the Council’s aspiration to eventually achieve Level 2 of the Wales Charter for Member Support and Development.

8.             With regard to the Candidates' Pack, as in 2004 and 2008, the Welsh Local Government Association has prepared a Candidates’ Guide for circulation to candidates standing at the Welsh Local Government elections in 2012.  The document, entitled “Be A Councillor 2012” has been developed with input from the all-Wales Member Support Officers’ Network, which is attended by the Operational Manager (Democratic Services), the Principal Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer and the Corporate Training Manager.

9.             The Guide contains information on:

                   Why become a Councillor?

                   What Councillors and Councils do

                   Expectations of newly elected Councillors

                   Support available

                   Remuneration details

                   Who can be a Councillor

                   How do I become a Councillor?.

10.        In addition to the material contained in the Guide itself, there is obviously a need for more “localised” material to be incorporated in the pack of information to be circulated to candidates standing in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The Member Development Working Group has endorsed the inclusion in the Pack of information on the following (and, possibly, more if deemed necessary):

                   Member Mentoring / Officer “Buddies” schemes

                   Member Induction Programme

                   Timetable of Meetings

                   Member Development Strategy / Framework

                   Roles and Responsibilities / Role Descriptions

                   Members’ Annual Report Template

                   Scrutiny Guides

                   Constitution (in CD format).

11.        Candidates will also be informed in the Pack that, should they be elected, they would be required to undertake a CRB check in accordance with Council policy

12.        Turning to the proposals for Member Induction and ongoing Member Development in 2012, the Local Government elections take place on 3rd May 2012, with the Council’s Annual Meeting scheduled for 23rd May 2012.  The proposed induction programme would begin during the week commencing 7th May 2012 and is based on usage of materials developed via the Welsh Local Government Association and / or All-Wales Member Support Officers’ Network.  The draft programme is attached as Appendix B to the report.  Actual dates may be subject to change.

13.        As part of the ongoing support to be provided for new, and returning, Members, it is also proposed to make available Member Mentoring and Officer "buddies". 

14.        A Member Mentoring scheme was introduced for the 2004 elections, under which all new Members were "buddied up" with a more experienced Member.  The scheme worked well and was also in place following the 2008 elections.  Full details of the way in which Member Mentoring will work are contained in Appendix C.

15.        In addition to the above, all newly elected Members will be allocated a "buddy" from within the Democratic Services Team.  That officer will then be the first point of contact for the new Member(s).  Again, this is alluded to in Appendix C.  Documentation in respect of both the above schemes will, again, be included in the Candidates' Pack. 

16.        In obtaining Level 1 of the Wales Charter for Member Support and Development, one of the criteria was a commitment on the part of the Council to the development of Personal Support and Development Interviews for all members in receipt of a Special Responsibility Allowance.  It is proposed that such provision should, in fact, be in place for all Members. 

17.        The Member Development Working Group has endorsed a process which would involve Members being supplied with an interview form based on a template issued by the WLGA.  A questionnaire designed by the WLGA to assist Members in this exercise would also be issued.

18.        The framework for Charter status provides for interviews taking place which are

                   based on Role Descriptions, to be contained in the Member Development Strategy

                   contribute to Personal Development Plans (which, in turn, could be used to inform the Council's overall Member Development Programme)

                   are undertaken by senior Members (i.e. Group Leaders).

19.        Members are reminded that the Corporate Plan 2010 - 14 contains the following (linked) actions:

CL6       undertake Personal Development interviews for all Elected Members(2012)

CL7       obtain Level 2 of the Welsh Local Government Association Charter for Member Support and Development (2013).

20.        Section 5 of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 contains a requirement for local authorities to make provision, from April 2012, for each Member to make an Annual Report on their activities and for the publication by Members of such reports.  A draft format, which is attached as Appendix D to the report, has been endorsed by the Member Development Working Group.  The format is intended to be relatively straightforward and concise, providing a consistent approach from Members.  It is proposed that the position be reviewed following the first year of its use.

21.        Finally, the existing Members' ICT Code is also currently under review and any changes proposes will be the subject a further report.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

22.        There are no direct financial implications arising from the report.  Certain costs will arise in terms of any provision of Member Development elements by external facilitators.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

23.        The Council is required to comply with the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011.

Crime and Disorder Implications

24.        There are no direct implications arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

25.        Equalities will be a specific element within the Member Development Programme.

Corporate/Service Objectives

26.        As indicated above, there are two specific actions related to Member Development contained in the Council's Corporate Plan 2010 - 14.

Policy Framework and Budget

27.        This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

28.        This is an internal matter and, therefore, no consultation has been necessary.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

29.        Corporate Resources.

Background Papers

Member Development Strategy

Reports to Member Development Group: 8th February, 20th September and 17th October, 2011

WLGA Framework for Member Development.

 

Contact Officer

Jeff Wyatt, Operational Manager (Democratic Services), Tel: (01446) 709408

 

Officers Consulted

Chief Executive

Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services

Director of Finance, ICT and Property

Head of Planning and Transportation

Head of Public Protection

Head of Legal Services

Corporate Training Manager.

 

Responsible Officer:

J. Maitland Evans, Chief Executive

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