Agenda and minutes

Member Development Steering Group
Monday, 27th November, 2017 5.00 p.m., MOVED

The Agenda for this meeting will be published 5 clear working days before the scheduled date of the meeting. The Minutes and Decisions for this meeting will normally be published within 9 working days following the date of the meeting.

Note: this does not apply to Scrutiny Working Groups or Scrutiny Commissioners meetings, please contact the relevant Scrutiny Officer for more information on the work programme for these Groups.

Venue: Brooks Room - Council Offices, Narborough. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  0116 272 7638

No. Item


Notes of Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 70 KB

That the notes of the meeting held on 17 July 2017 be approved.


The minutes of the meeting held on 17 July 2017 were approved as a correct record.


Budget Update pdf icon PDF 187 KB


The Chairman, Cllr. Chris Frost welcomed Members and Officers to the meeting.


The Senior Democratic Services Officer presented the Budget Update. An updated Budget Update was distributed to Members during the meeting, which included the costs incurred from two recent Member training events;


·        31st October – Getting the most from Financial Scrutiny

·        23rd November – Scrutinising Council Performance


The costs incurred for train travel for a housing peer development day attended by Cllr. Maggie Wright, had also been re-allocated to the travel budget.


Athena Update

Members will receive a presentation from the HR Advisor for Learning Development & Athena -  SudhaDandikar.


The HR Advisor for Learning Development & Athena, supported by the Strategic Manager – People, Performance & Assets, provided Members with a presentation and demonstration of the Councils E:learning platform, Athena. Key point of the demonstration being;


·        The Athena platform is already in use by staff employed within the Council.

·        There is potential to expand this use to include a number of training packages tailored towards Members. Many such packages already exist and could be adapted for our own needs with very little effort.

·        Any use of such a platform, would be to serve as a supplement to training needs, not wholly replacing more practical/group training sessions such as those currently being provided.

·        The system has the capacity to be updated very quickly, ensuring that as a Member resource the information provided can always be current and correct.

·        The use of a platform such as Athena could provide a greater level of flexibility and accessibility for members with regards how they manage their own training needs.

·        The Member Development Charter Action Plan 2016/17, identified the need to build upon alternative methods of learning and development delivery such as e:learning for appropriate topics as an area for improvement.


Members agreed to proceed with the further development of Athena as a Member training tool and resource, with the costs involved in this work to come from the Member Development Steering Group budget. Members of the Steering Group would be provided with a link to access Athena, and become more familiar with the platform in order to provide feedback at the next meeting.


Evaluation of Recent Courses pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To consider the evaluation of recent courses, including:


·        Getting The Most From Financial Scrutiny – 31st October 2017

·        Value for money exercise on recent courses


Additional documents:


The Democratic & Scrutiny Services Officer presented the evaluation of recent courses, the key points of which being;


·        2 Member training events have been held in the time since the Steering Group last met, both have been delivered by the Centre for Public Scrutiny;

o   31st October - Getting the most from Financial Scrutiny

o   23rd November – Scrutinising Council Performance

·        Initial feedback from both sessions was mixed, with members commenting that there was perhaps too much to go through effectively in such a short space of time.

·        As these sessions were delivered by an external party they had an associated cost, as such their initial scores on our Value for Money VfM exercise would be low, but these could rise once longer term impact of the training had been factored in.

·        A scheduled Planning Masterclass, which was due to be held in December had been cancelled at the request of Members, as a number of Members on the Planning Committee were unable to attend. An alternative date is being sought in the new year.


PDA Proposal


The Senior Democratic Services Officer presented Members with a proposal as to a potential structure and process of officer supported PDA’s, the key points of which being;


·        Officers contacting individual Members to arrange a suitable time to attend a PDA.

·        Supporting group whips in PDA meetings, assisting to write up PDA’s and feedback analysis.

·        The Members Lounge to be available as a venue.


Members commented that the current PDA form should be reviewed, it was felt that the form was not very concise and would benefit from being cut down. It was agreed that this would be added to the next agenda of the Steering Group.


Roles & Responsibilities pdf icon PDF 399 KB

Members are asked to consider the Roles & Responsibilities and provide feedback.


The Senior Democratic Services Officer introduced an updated Member’s Roles and Responsibilities document to Member’s for consideration and feedback.


Members commented that they were happy with the document in its current format, and requested that when approved, the document be available via the BDC website, and suggested that this information could potentially be included on the Athena platform as a useful resource, particularly for new Members.


Be a Councillor Event


The Senior Democratic Services Officer explained that the last time a ‘Be a Councillor Event’ was held, it was funded by East Midlands Councils (EMC), If another similar event were to be held before the 2019 local elections, this would no longer be the case. Options are being explored with other authorities, looking at the potential pooling of resources to ensure that another event takes place, supported by EMC. A further update would be provided to the Steering Group in the new year.


Members commented, that the Steering Group budget could be used to support this proposal, adding that it was important to raise the public awareness and challenge preconceptions surrounding Councillors and local politics, and that good engagement and interest from the public in becoming Councillors is essential for good democracy.


Items for Next Agenda


·        Review of completed PDA’s

·        Review of the current PDA form

·        Athena feedback


Date of Next Meeting

Date of following meeting:


·        29th January 2018



The date of the next meeting is 29 January 2018.