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HARLOW DISTRICT COUNCIL

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Harlow Council's CPA assessment in June 2004 classified the ... Cabinet Member from Essex County Council speaking on the local impact of Every Child Matters' ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: HARLOW DISTRICT COUNCIL


1
HARLOW DISTRICT COUNCIL
  • MEMBER INDUCTION
  • MENTORING SCHEME

2
BACKGROUND
  • Harlow Councils CPA assessment in June 2004
    classified the authority as poor
  • The CPA report highlighted a number of critical
    people issues that the Council needed to
    address

3
PEOPLE ISSUES
  • Lack of clarity around the roles of officers and
    Members
  • Political Leadership was not strategic
  • A general lack of trust between Members and
    officers
  • Poor conduct of Council business
  • Blame Culture

4
RECOVERY PLAN
  • The Council initiated a number of key projects to
    address the issues raised in the CPA Report
  • All projects were sponsored by a member of the
    Corporate Management Team and project managed by
    a Head of Service

5
PEOPLE ISSUES PROJECT AIMS
  • Members with the knowledge to undertake their
    representative and strategic/leadership roles
  • A Member/staff relationship which enables the
    requirements of both Members and staff to be
    realised in the form of an effective local
    democratic process and sustainable performance
    improvement

6
MEMBER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
  • Induction / briefing sessions
  • Member Personal Development Plans (PDPs)
  • Joint Member / Officer sessions
  • Mentoring

7
INDUCTION / BRIEFING SESSIONS
  • Initial session targeted specifically at the new
    Members, to occur immediately after the election
  • Further sessions directly relevant to new
    Members, but also open to existing Members who
    may have wanted a refresher

8
INITIAL INDUCTION SESSION
  • New Members only
  • Covered a variety of housekeeping matters such as
    the issue of laptop and introductions to key
    politicians and officers within the Council
  • Taken on a tour of Harlow so that they were
    brought straight up to speed on the significant
    growth and regeneration agendas the town is facing

9
FURTHER BRIEFING SESSIONS
  • Open to all Members
  • Covers a diverse range of topics such as
    Corporate Governance, Standing Orders, Local
    Government Finance, Growth Area Funding, Equality
    and Diversity, Choice Based Lettings and
    Community Safety Consultation
  • Commenced in May 2006 and is continuing to March
    2007

10
MEMBER PDPs
  • Personal Development Plans were introduced in
    2005 and continued in 2006
  • Members discussed their development needs with
    IDeA and summary of anonymous needs was provided
    to Council Officers

11
TRAINING FROM PDPs
  • Available to all Members
  • Questioning and Chairing skills
  • Effective Officer/Member relationships
  • IT skills
  • Tailored programmes
  • Leadership Academy Fastrack Programme (IDeA)

12
JOINT MEMBER / OFFICER SESSIONS
  • A number of events open to both Members and
    senior managers
  • Intended to increase learning and develop
    improved Officer / Member relationships
  • Encouraged to debate issues in open and non
    political environment

13
EXAMPLES OF JOINT SESSIONS
  • INLOGOV presentation on Officer / Member
    relationships
  • Chief Executive of South Tyneside Council
    speaking on Culture Change. Followed-up by an
    in-depth visit of Members and Officers to South
    Tyneside
  • Cabinet Member from Essex County Council speaking
    on the local impact of Every Child Matters

14
MENTORING SUPPORT
  • Introduction of officer mentoring support given
    by Heads of Service in May 2006
  • Aim was to help newly-elected Members become
    effective quickly by providing Officers to
    support, advise and guide the Member on the work
    of the Council and its services

15
OTHER MENTOR SUPPORT
  • This Officer support was in addition to the
    political mentoring which had previously been
    initiated within the Councils three political
    groups
  • 2006 saw also the continuation of peer support
    given to Members within all political parties via
    the IDeA.

16
LESSONS FROM OFFICER MENTORS
  • Length of the relationship
  • Danger of relationship becoming too close
  • Adapt the scheme to the differing needs of the
    Members

17
IMPACT OF PROGRAMME
  • People Issues project was able to close in
    December 06, three months ahead of the planned
    date
  • Responsibility for Councillor development has
    been mainstreamed within the Councils HR service.

18
EVIDENCE OF SUCCESS
  • Positive Member feedback
  • Well-attended and can regularly attract a third
    to a half of all Members
  • Mentoring Scheme
  • X has given me an excellent introduction to the
    Council, its structure and the way it works. I
    have found our sessions extremely interesting and
    informative and, whilst our formal sessions are
    now complete, I look forward to my future as a
    Councillor knowing that X will be there for me if
    I need any help in the future.

19
INDEPENDENT FEEDBACK
  • Solace Peer Challenge Feedback November 2006
  • There is clear evidence that there is strong
    political and managerial leadership there is a
    climate of openness, support and respect the
    roles and responsibilities of officers and
    members for decision-making are clear
    relationships between officers and members have
    improved strongly and there is mutual respect
    the scrutiny process is effective and members
    and officers work within a positive ethical
    framework.

20
CPA REPORT 2004
  • There are constant political battles, played out
    very publicly in meetings and in the local media,
    which do not allow important decisions to receive
    sensible debate. There is little trust between
    officers and members and overall there is a poor
    relationship between them. There is a strong
    blame culture and both sides have become
    entrenched and frustrated. There is a danger that
    the Council will not be able to deliver the
    ambitions it has for its local community
  • What a difference in two years!

21
IMPROVED COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP
  • The Solace peer challenge in November 2006
    identified the Councils strength in providing
    community leadership in its work with a range of
    partners and stakeholders and highlighted the
    recent Scrutiny review of flooding in the town.

22
IMPROVED COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP
  • This review showed Members of the Scrutiny
    Committee to
  • be outwardlooking community leaders,
  • hold other agencies to account,
  • demonstrate questioning and chairing skills
    (training delivered in January 06),
  • further develop effective working across the
    three political groups,
  • and most importantly make a real difference to
    the lives of Harlow residents who had suffered
    from flash flooding in 2006

23
IMPROVED PERFORMANCE
  • Enhanced capacity at both officer and member
    level has led to real improvements in Harlow
    Councils performance management and service
    delivery.
  • For example, in 2006 the number of best value
    performance indicators achieving their target has
    improved to 81 from 40 in the previous year and
    improved performance has been achieved for 70 of
    BVPIs

24
SUMMARY
  • Harlow has been on an amazing journey over the
    last two years
  • There is still more work to do, but the Member
    Development Programme has made a significant
    contribution to the improvements in the
    leadership provided by the Council
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