Agenda and minutes

Member Development Steering Group - Wednesday, 5th April, 2017 7.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room 1 - The Forum. View directions

Contact: Trudi Angel - 01442 228224 

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Councillor Banks was absent.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 14 December 2016 were agreed by the members present and then signed by the Chairman.


The Chairman queried the item 2a on ‘New Member Guide’. Councillor Douris advised that the item came out of the discussion at the previous meeting regarding the webpage ‘How to Become a Councillor’. He explained he had produced the document as non-political, and to give background to newly elected members and give them an idea of what to expect. He said he was happy to meet M Anderson and T Angel to discuss it further.


Councillor P Hearn suggested adding something about attending meetings and giving apologies because members are only half way through their term and some members don’t bother to attend their committee meetings. Councillor Douris said he was happy to add that information in and could also add something about organising substitutes for meetings when they’re unavailable. He felt there was some confusion amongst councillors about making arrangements for substitutes. M Anderson advised that members should let Marie know if they’re unavailable for a meeting and work with her to arrange a substitute. The Chairman said he found it useful when the substitutes for each meeting were on the front of the agendas. M Anderson advised that this changed when we moved from paper agendas to Modern Gov but if required they could look at amending the system.


Councillor Adshead suggested adding a map of the building to show where each team sits as he would have found that helpful when he was elected. He also suggested adding something about the use of iPads. M Anderson said she would need to check whether there was an issue with putting a map of the building on the website. 


The Chairman felt that the document needed to be concise and not have too much information included as newly elected members are provided with lots of information at the induction days anyway. He felt the information would be more effective if it was on a small leaflet rather than a booklet.


Councillor Hicks suggested putting the details of Member Support in there and don’t be afraid to ask as they’re always there to help.


The Chairman asked the officers to confirm if all the other actions from the previous minutes were completed. M Anderson confirmed that the PDP report had been circulated to members after the last meeting. She then advised that the Social Media Policy was produced in 2011 and updated in May 2016 to reflect recent changes in Social Media.




Quarterly Budget Update pdf icon PDF 62 KB


M Anderson apologised for the highlighted section on the budget update and advised it was a formatting error. She said that there were a couple more expenses to be deducted, and she would bring the year-end report to the meeting in June. She advised that one of the invoices had possibly been paid twice so she was working on getting that resolved. 


Members discussed the option of having a more detailed budget report included in a part 2 section of the agenda. M Anderson would look into whether this would qualify as Part 2.



Members Training Feedback pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Additional documents:


T Angel summarised that there had been four training sessions since the last meeting; Homelessness update, 9 attendees, Making Effective Use of Overview and Scrutiny, 16 attendees, Safe and Confident Use of Social Media, 7 attendees and Understanding CIL Arrangements (Community Infrastructure Levy), 6 attendees, and all scores were good – excellent. She advised that there was one more session for this municipal year which was a pre-council session on 19 April covering Data Protection and Information Security as the Members elected in 2015 haven’t attended one of these sessions yet. She highlighted that the re-elected councillors should also attend as it’s useful to refresh on important topics.


Councillor Douris asked if text message reminders were still being circulated. T Angel confirmed they were, and that they had taken on board comments from the Finance and Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee about an additional text message ten days prior to the session. M Anderson advised that we only had approximately 15 councillors on our text message circulation list so she didn’t feel it would reach enough members to make too much of a difference. T Angel highlighted that she had been doing an additional email recently, as well as a text message reminder and the sessions were advertised in members’ news for around 3 weeks.


Councillor Adshead said he found the members news advertisement helpful. He suggested a calendar invite could be circulated as that way people couldn’t say they forgot. M Anderson said that had been suggested before but there was a problem with the Good calendar and she wasn’t sure if it was resolved.


The Chairman suggested that another email to all councillors asking them if they would like to opt-in to the text message service might be beneficial. T Angel advised that she had put something in members’ news quite a few times asking if members would like to opt-in and had only received one reply. M Anderson suggested putting a paper slip on everyone’s desk at the next Full Council asking if they would like to receive text message reminders. The group agreed this was a good idea.


Councillor Douris suggested that as members telephone numbers were available on the website and open to the public, that should be acceptable for us to use them for the text message service and they can opt-out rather than us asking them to opt-in. The Chairman felt it was worth speaking to Ben Trueman and John Worts about Councillor Douris’ suggestion and M Anderson agreed she would do this.



Ø  M Anderson/T Angel to speak to B Trueman/J Worts about using members mobile numbers from the website for the text message service without asking them to opt-in.

Ø  M Anderson/T Angel to look into the possibility of calendar invites for training sessions.



Member Development Programme 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 46 KB


T Angel drew attention to the list of member development dates for 2017/18 and asked if there were any requests or suggestions for training sessions. She also asked members to put these dates in their diaries.


Councillor P Hearn suggested a session on Planning Enforcement would be of interest to a lot of people.


Councillor Howard felt that more councillors would turn up to the sessions if they had an input on the topics.


Councillor Douris suggested a session on working with the County Council to highlight the responsibilities of the Borough Council and the County Council. He also suggested a session on Adult Care.


Councillor Adshead said he would be interested in a session for the waste disposal process. The Chairman advised there were two trips organised last year to cover waste disposal process and they were very well attended.


M Anderson/T Angel said they would do an email to all members asking for their suggestions/requests for training sessions.


Councillor Douris asked if there had been any further discussion on refreshments at training sessions. M Anderson said it was likely to be questioned when there are free facilities in the kitchen areas, and also hot drinks are not permitted in the Council Chamber. She agreed to look in to it and feedback at the next meeting.



Ø  M Anderson/T Angel to look in to the cost and possibility of refreshments at training sessions.

Ø  M Anderson/T Angel to email all members asking for their suggestions/requests for training sessions.




MDSG Work Programme 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 44 KB


T Angel explained there was one change to the work programme; the E-Learning item was moved to the June meeting as the responsible officer was unable to attend this meeting. She asked members to let them know of any items they would like added to the work programme.