A report by the Human Resources Development Manager on Member training.
Submitted - a progress report by the Trainee HR Development Officer and HR Development Manager on development opportunities offered to Members since the previous report was submitted to Committee on 17 September 2019.
The Trainee HR Development Officer reported that the Member Training and Development Plan notes the training sessions that are currently available to Members. The HR team work closely with the Head of Democratic Services and senior management to identify suitable training for Members. Feedback from Members on courses they have attended is evaluated to ascertain whether the training met the needs of the audience, and to identify any additional training individuals may require. It was noted that the Development Plan (which is regularly evolving and updated) is presented to the Standards Committee and Democratic Services Committee every quarter for information.
The use of E-Learning work packages is encouraged, and digital support is available to Members on ICT issues. Guidelines are available on e.g. use of I-Pads, access to the E-Learning platform, and the ICT team hold regular ‘drop in’ sessions for Members.
The HR Development Manager reported that Members are requested to complete course evaluation forms following training. She stated that the forms are analysed to evaluate any further development needs individual Members may have. It was noted that HR staff also asses Members’ training requirements through feedback received from their individual Personal Development Plans (PDRs).
Concerns were raised that the facility to record their attendances in meetings is not available online for co-opted members. The Monitoring Officer reported that the Standards Committee has previously explored all the available options with ICT and the Section 151 Officer, and concluded that it is not cost effective for the Council to adopt the facility. The HR Development Manager reported that she would look into the issue of recording attendances on training courses centrally on the HR system and report back to the Committee in due course.
Mrs Sharon Warnes, a member of the Standards Committee had requested that ‘Risk Assessment’ be included in the elected Member Development Programme. The Standards Committee were unclear regarding the context of risk Mrs Warnes referred to. The Committee agreed that the Head of Democratic Services seeks clarity on the issue from the Council’s Audit team.
Discussion focused on whether the quality of training provided internally is evaluated externally. It was noted that Human Resources use evaluation forms to obtain feedback from Members and co-opted members attending training. In addition, HR staff may often sit in on training sessions. It was further noted that, prior to employing external providers, the HR officers will liaise with other local authorities to discuss training providers. Liaison with the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) also occurs, in order to obtain advice and guidance on training provision. Wherever possible, the option of officers delivering training is also considered.
Councillor J Arwel Roberts reminded the Standards Committee that although Members are encouraged to attend training sessions, only some courses are mandatory. He reported that when Members work full time, they often have to decline invitations to meetings and training sessions.
Concerns were raised that when training is declined, attendance is recorded as non-attendance. This point is referred to in annual reports. When training is arranged, in recognition that some Elected Members are employed, the HR team have a flexible approach regarding the timing of training sessions to accommodate Members’ commitments.
The Monitoring Officer reported that the new Bill states that Group Leaders are responsible for their Members’ performance, including training. She stated that each Member has a Personal Development Review (PDR) annually, and Group Leaders should target what is important to Members, and judge their performance against their needs.
• To note the Member Training and Development Plan and observations presented.
• That the Head of Democratic Services contacts the Council’s Audit team to seek clarity on the issue of ‘Risk Assessment’, as raised by a member of the Standards Committee.
Action: See Resolution above.