Agenda item

Member Development Programme


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 with a new topic.


Action: KM said that they could look for a broader provider to deliver this type of training.


Councillor Douris suggested asking Mark Brookes about a provider with a legal background. He said that a horizon scanning Social Media session could be delivered at the end of the year.


Action: KM said that there was a function in ModernGov which could enable Councillors to have their own blogs and that these would appear on their Councillor page on the website. She said that they could look into this and provide training for Councillors on how to use it.


Councillor Griffiths said that it would be useful to have training for Councillors on how to use ModernGov in general.


Councillor Freedman commented that it would be important to talk to Mark Brookes about the blogs due to the risk of implicating the Council.


Action: KM said that the blogs had to be approved by Member Support first. She said that they would work on implementing it and would produce a guide including guidelines on what was appropriate to include. She added that it could be beneficial for residents to read Councillors’ blogs without them having to use Facebook.


Councillor Silwal said that it would be useful if there was separate training on this.


KM confirmed that there would be.


Councillor Bhinder asked about comments on the blogs.


KM said that comments would be turned off.


Councillor Freedman said that comments could be turned off but could be received as messages on some platforms. He added that whoever was responsible for approving the blogs would need to know what they were doing from a legal standpoint.


Councillor Bhinder said that he runs and that he had switched off comments.


Councillor Douris commented that there was lots that was unknown concerning ModernGov and other Council IT functions.


Councillor Griffiths agreed that there were many aspects concerning IT that Councillors did not know about.


Councillor Bhinder said that many Councillors had issues with their devices at meetings that he attended, particularly with ModernGov and emails.


Action: KM said that they would be arranging sessions for Members.


Councillor Griffiths said that it would be useful to have a session that highlighted everything that could be done on the system and to then see which Councillors were interested in using which functions. She said that sessions could then be given over the 4 year term.


Councillor Freedman noted that this training should not be mandatory.


Councillor Douris commented that many Councillors would not know how to use and find these additional functions.


KM said that she could speak to the performance team. She suggested having training sessions before Council.


Councillor Douris said that he was not keen on this and that monthly, almost ‘drop-in’, training might be better.


Councillor Griffiths noted that when she was sent emails to her Dacorum email address, links to webpages would not work due to the firewall and that it would say that there was a server error.


Action: KM said that they would speak to IT about this.


Councillor Freedman said that it sounded like an IT issue.


Action: KM asked about what other training courses Councillors would like. She suggested emailing all Councillors about more training that they would like and then bringing the responses back to the Member Development Steering Group meeting in March.


Councillor Douris asked for ideas for training.


Councillor Freedman suggested a Mayor’s training session regarding etiquette in Full Council meetings. He gave the example of addressing Councillors.


Councillor Griffiths said that Councillors are generally asked how they want to be addressed. She said that it would be useful to have a practical training session on rules as well as a session on custom and practice.


Councillor Freedman said that it was about etiquette and gave the example of wearing a tie.


Councillor Douris, speaking as the Mayor, gave examples of people getting up at the end of the meeting and Members asking a number of questions and his own practice in running the meeting. He said that the legal rules took priority over customs and practice.


Councillor Griffiths said that the dress code was down to the Groups.


Councillor Freedman said that he was keen to follow etiquette and not cause friction.


Councillor Douris commented that Town and Parish Council meetings tended to be quite formal.


Councillor Griffiths said that there should be the option to ask someone informally about custom and practice.


Councillor Douris addressed the rules and Constitution for Full Council and said that there was actually no limit to the number of questions that could be asked.


Councillor Griffiths suggested a training session to go through the Constitution which could be Council meeting specific, for example, covering Points of Order and the Move to Vote.


Action: KM said that she would speak to Mark Brookes and Farida Hussain about this.


Councillor Griffiths agreed that going out to Members again was a good idea and that service-specific training sessions could be offered. She suggested each department listing what services they provide.


Councillor Freedman said that he would find another marketplace useful like at the Member Induction but if it could last longer. He added that it may also be worth asking officers for ideas for training sessions for Councillors and gave the example of common questions that officers may get asked.


Councillor Douris said that the way in which the sessions are advertised could be better to catch Members’ attention.

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