Working with elected members

 

Overview

It is important for Officers to understand the roles and responsibilities, processes and procedures involved when working with Elected Members. They also need to appreciate the significance of Elected Members as the decision-makers in local government.

Officers have a responsibility to work and communicate with Elected Members effectively. This very successful course is designed to help Officers with this.

Training objectives

To provide managers with the knowledge and understanding they need to have productive working relationships with Elected Members and provide appropriate support.

By the end of the course participants will:
  • Understand the roles, responsibilities, processes and procedures in place for working with Elected Members
  • Be able to identify the best way to approach potentially sensitive issues
  • Understand the skills and behaviours required for working effectively with Members
  • Be able to deploy their influencing skills more successfully
  • Review their learning and have an action plan to take back and implement at work

Audience

All senior managers and Officers within local authorities who have dealings with Elected Members.

Format

This is a highly engaging, participative workshop style programme which uses a range of exercises, tasks and discussions at individual, pair and group level to promote learning.

Special features

The programme can be adjusted to make provision for an Elected Member to give a short talk (‘A day in the life…’) to highlight Elected Members’ expectations.

The expert trainer

Amanda is a highly experienced coach and facilitator specialising in providing leadership coaching, management development programmes and facilitation services to the public sector. Her work in the public sector, in particular, has so far extended to facilitation sessions, focus groups, team development, personal effectiveness skills training, customer service training, performance management and appraisal skills training, and specialist leadership and management programmes.

Amanda has delivered this particular programme to Essex County Council and Central Bedfordshire Council, amongst others, Her clients include Surrey County Council, SFEDI, London Borough of Newham, Teeside University, Bath University, Oxfordshire Association of Young People, Relate and BIG Lottery. Amanda also coaches CEOs and people in leadership positions in public and civil sector organisations.

Participants in Amanda’s courses always respond positively to her enthusiastic delivery style. Feedback for this particular course has been excellent, as the following comments show:

‘An overview of this course is essential for Officer induction.’

‘I think this is an excellent course and would be beneficial for all employees.’

‘This training should somehow be mandatory for all new starters with the council. Compulsory as some information is needed to do your job properly.’

‘Feel this should be part of the induction process for those staff dealing with Members.’

Course outline

Note: this is very much an indicative outline. The programme is tailored to the needs of each particular organisation.

1   Introduction
  • Welcome and introductions
  • Objectives and programme overview
2   Working in a political environment
  • What is political awareness?
  • Contact and experience with Members
  • Importance of the role of Members
3   Why be an Elected Member?
  • Perceptions of what Elected Members are and do
  • Values of Members and their motivations for doing what they do
4   Political decision-making in local government
  • Current challenges and drivers affecting the organisation / the council
  • Roles and responsibilities of Officers and Members
  • Centrality of Members’ strategic role
5   (Option) A day in the life of an Elected Member
  • An Elected Member gives a talk about what they do
5   Having a beneficial relationship between Officers and Members

6   Member / Officer communication
  • Discussion of the formal processes, service procedures, etc (whether enshrined in a protocol, Memorandum of Understanding, etc)
  • Response times and requirements
  • Procedures required by Heads of Service [if appropriate]
7   Influencing styles and strategies
  • Different forms of power and how they impact
  • Developing an appropriate ‘influencing style’
  • Exploring strategies for improving communication and influencing at work
8   Review and evaluation
  • Review and evaluation of learning
  • Personal action plans

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