Agenda and draft minutes

Member Development Steering Group - Tuesday, 7th January, 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room 1 - The Forum. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Barry.


Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Freedman.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 69 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 2 October were confirmed by the Members present and were then signed by the Chairman.


Quarterly Budget Update pdf icon PDF 10 KB


Councillor Griffiths asked about adding the notional allowance of officer time to the Quarterly Budget Update.


KM said that it was difficult to add this to the Budget Update as the spreadsheet was lifted directly from the Budget itself.


Councillor Griffiths suggested adding the training title under the detail column but then putting the amount as costing nothing: £0.00.


Action: Councillor Douris asked KM is she could talk to Finance about adding officer time to the Quarterly Budget Update.


KM said that she would talk to Finance. She added that the Community Leadership Training was delivered by the LGA at no cost. She said that the Chair Training and Overview and Scrutiny Training delivered by Frontline Consulting had now been paid for as well as the Social Media training from Link Support Services.


Action: KM said that they would be asking other Local Authorities about the training that they provide to their Members.


Member Development Programme pdf icon PDF 70 KB


Councillor Douris noted that the room used for Social Media Training was too small for the number of attendees.


Councillor Freedman said that this may have been because several attendees were from Town and Parish Councils.


CW said that the room was booked according to the number of Councillors that had signed up for the session and that several Councillors turn up to sessions without signing up for them first. She said this was fine but that it was difficult to cater for.


Councillor Douris said that they had used Link Support Services for the past 4 or 5 years.


Councillor Bhinder said that it was important to provide regular training for those areas where legislation was constantly changing.


Councillor Freedman suggested two different Social Media sessions being offered. He said that one session could be mandatory, covering the legalities surrounding Social Media.


Councillor Bhinder said that it would be useful for this session to include raising awareness of abuse and bullying online.


Councillor Freedman suggested that the second Social Media session could cover public awareness and engagement including information on using the best tools to communicate with residents.


Councillor Griffiths suggested that this session could also provide horizon scanning to update Members on what was becoming popular.


Councillor Bhinder said that offering two sessions was a good idea as some training like the Licensing training provided a heavy amount of information in a short space of time. He suggested that Social Media training could give the Councillors’ perspective as well as the perspective of residents using Social Media.


Councillor Freedman said that, from his experience, using Facebook was currently the most useful platform for communicating with as many people as possible. He suggested that some people may be using new platforms but that his priority was to reach as many people as possible.


Councillor Bhinder said that it was important to consider the resources of managing this.


Councillor Freedman suggested that this year Facebook may remain at the fore.


Councillor Douris asked when the tipping point would be when Facebook may no longer at the fore. He suggested that a Social Media session on legalities could be delivered next year and then a session on future Social Media platforms could be delivered the following year or the year after.


Councillor Griffiths said that she believed legalities had already been covered but that it would be useful for refreshers to be provided. She added that horizon scanning could be filtered into this. She commented that many people found using Facebook stressful and were moving away from the platform.


Councillor Bhinder said that demographics needed to be looked at carefully.


Action: Councillor Freedman suggested speaking to the Communications team about Social Media platforms and whether they could provide internal training on this.


Councillor Douris suggested providing a Social Media session early on with a title such as ‘Social Media: how to stay out of jail’ and making sure it was clear to Members that this was a new course  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Evaluation feedback from previous development sessions pdf icon PDF 215 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Griffiths asked whether the team went back to Councillors who gave low scores in their feedback of Member Development sessions.


KM said that the evaluation feedback forms were anonymous.


Councillor Freedman added that people might not be as honest in feedback if they knew that they could be identified.


Action: Councillor Douris suggested providing a line where Councillors could add their name to the feedback form if they wished to discuss the session further.


Councillor Freedman said that he looked for something that he could immediately take away from courses to implement.


Councillor Douris suggested rewording a question or including an additional question to cover this and whether this question should be scored from 1-10 or whether it should allow Councillors to provide a comment. He also suggested adding a comment section to ask Councillors whether anything was missing from training sessions.


Action: KM said that they could make the comments section more focused.



Attendance record pdf icon PDF 97 KB


KM highlighted that not all Councillors had attended the mandatory training sessions and that names would be passed on to the Group Leaders.


CW said that Sara Whelan was in the process of arranging a further Planning training session.


Councillor Freedman suggested that Members were encouraged to pre-submit questions ahead of the Planning training to make most effective use of the time.


Councillor Douris noted that using a local situation to highlight a wider issue was useful in sessions but that focusing solely on that local situation may not necessarily be helpful.


Action: Councillor Bhinder asked that alternate rows were shaded on the Attendance Totals spreadsheet so that it was easier to read.


Councillor Griffiths asked when the online system would be going live.


Action: KM said that she would chase this and also look at how training would be provided.


Councillor Douris asked whether IT could provide drop-in sessions.


KM said that they had been offered before so that this should be possible.


Councillor Griffiths said that it would be worth letting Members know what could be done on the system first and then providing training based on what Members wished to use.


Councillor Douris said that it would be good for Members to be kept up to date with new systems that were being used as well.


KM said that updates were provided on the Information Station.


Councillor Douris suggested asking Councillors in Members News when the last time they used the intranet was.


KM said that this may be difficult but suggested Communications adding in Members News about the Information Station.


Councillor Freedman asked whether it would be possible for an organisation chart to be provided on the intranet that went down to a lower level than Group Managers.


Councillor Griffiths said that senior staff would want to know about issues in their service and they would then delegate as appropriate.


KM said that it could be highlighted in training sessions about how to search for individuals.


Work programme pdf icon PDF 43 KB


It was noted that the next meeting was scheduled to take place on Wednesday 18th March.