Agenda and minutes

Member Development Steering Group - Wednesday, 1st June, 2022 7.30 pm

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Cllr Freedman




Cllr Douris advised that the minutes of the previous meeting were not available.


Training Programme pdf icon PDF 117 KB


LFowell advised that she has been contacted by a number of officers asking for member briefing sessions, some of which have already been completed, and the next will take place on 16th June, which is the members' code of conduct training, led by Mark Brookes. The JSP member briefing will take place on 29th June, and confirmation is awaited for the Domestic Abuse Policy. LFowell noted that further dates were being added in due to the number of people asking for slots.


LFowell advised that a brief is sent out to ensure people are aware of what is covered, and whilst attendance has been okay, it has not been great, and she suggested that she speak to the leaders to reiterate the work that goes into the programmes from officers. Cllr Douris stated that he would be comfortable sending out a note to members and LFowell agreed.


Cllr Douris asked if there was a hidden agenda on officers wanting members to be briefed on matters as they are frustrated with the lack of knowledge some members are exhibiting. CONeil suggested it may be that SLT have taken an interest in member development and want any key information to be provided via briefings.


Cllr Douris suggested that 9th February be the last date provided. CONeil added that she has suggested to SLT to use this date for training around pre-election and purdah period, stating that they should also include training for those considering becoming a councillor. CONeil stated that she wants a more robust induction programme that is more engaging and informative for members to ensure the 6-month induction period is a positive experience for new members.


CONeil referred to briefing sessions being oversubscribed, noting that, pre-Covid, an hour-spot was added to the committee diary to take place before the full Council to cover any urgent matters that members required briefing on. It was noted that this could be used for any urgent items if required. Cllr Douris commented that this would need to be limited to items where statutory regulations have changed and suggested it either take place from 6-7pm or 6.15-7.15pm to provide people time for a comfort break before full Council. CONeil noted that full Council is now a much longer meeting and that this would also need to be taken into consideration, adding that she would discuss further ideas for briefings under item 4.


Cllr Barry-Mears joined the meeting.


ACTION: Cllr Douris to send note to members regarding training programme.


ACTION: CONeil to consider use of 9th February meeting.



Update from Senior Leadership Team


CONeil provided a verbal update, noting that Cllr Griffiths had asked for a paper to go to the SLT regarding the member development programme to set out the methodology of the purpose and structure of the programme.


The first area of consideration for improvement is for SLT to have a greater oversight of the programme to recommend training to the MDSG. SLT have an item once a quarter to make any recommendations for key training areas, such as on major contract and project management scrutiny, climate change, Hemel town centre, commercial, and housing compliance and the Building Safety Bill, which was considered to be of key importance to SLT.


Cllr Griffiths commented on housing compliance, noting that this has major ramifications for members and they should therefore be fully briefed to ensure that members are providing full scrutiny to ensure that the council are fully complying. Cllr Griffiths commented that there are currently 6 blocks of flats over 18 metres but the Bill also has ramifications for some of the 5-story buildings, adding that the LGA provide information on the Bill and this may not be at any extra cost. CONeil confirmed she would look into this further, adding that SLT have asked that any training provided be fit for purpose.


The second area of consideration suggested by the SLT is to create a knowledge hub for councillors with a dedicated area on the intranet that members can easily view from council devices. This will include information such as policies, contact information, the structure chart, FAQs and online officer briefings. Online briefings would allow members to attend at any time and ensure that more members are accessing information.


Cllr Bhinder asked if contacts would be across the board. CONeil commented that they would also need to ensure they have the resource to keep the contact list up to date and that they would also work with heads of service to identify the best point of contact for members and how they would let them know if this changes or that person is away.


Cllr Bhinder commented on external contacts and asked how this would be managed. CONeil stated that this would have to be considered further and would reach out to committee chairs on what they require.


Cllr Griffiths recommended that they have a list of all the council's partners with a link to their main webpage to allow members to get to the correct website. CONeil agreed, adding that this links to a suggestion from Cllr Rogers around ward statistics and other website to access statistical data, noting that they are waiting for the new 2021 census data to be released before starting this work. Cllr Douris commented that you receive a list of local statistics when elected, adding that he would look at what HCC's intranet includes. CONeil commented that these items could be considered as part of the enhanced induction programme to ensure that new members have access to all the information that they require.


The third  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Budget pdf icon PDF 43 KB


LFowell presented the budget, noting that the attendance and accommodation fees for the 2 group leaders are paid for and that the accommodation fees are yet to be committed to the budget.


Cllrs Griffiths and Bhinder joined the meeting.


Cllr Douris asked if any recompense is made to officers for in-house presentations. It was confirmed that they do not. Cllr Douris queried if a notional figure should be added to the budget to demonstrate what would be paid if they were asking for an outside speaker. CONeil advised that year 4 is a quieter year as most mandatory training has been provided and there hasn't been as much external facilitation. CONeil noted that this has been discussed at SLT as they need to consider whether year 4 should be used for personal development and how the budget would be divided. CONeil added that they could also look at mentoring or a return to PDRs and this will be discussed further at a future meeting.





Cllr Bhinder commented on portfolio holder training and asked that this be considered. Cllr Griffiths agreed, stating that ongoing training is essential and added that Chairs should also receive training to help them assist the committees with scrutiny. Cllr Bhinder stated that there is already training for Chairs and that being a portfolio holder is a big responsibility.