The Councillor Development Charter and Charter Plus
SW Councils has worked with the other eight regional employers organisations and the LGA to update the Councillor Development Charter. The charter signifies a commitment from a council to introduce a policy that supports and encourages Councillor development. All nine UK regions have signed up to the charter and increasing numbers of councils are pledging to introduce it for their members.
What is the Councillor Development Charter?
The Councillor Development Charter and Charter Plus exist to:
- Encourage councils to develop an effective strategy or approach to councillor development
- Recognise those councils that have developed an effective approach
- Encourage councils to continue that development and share their experiences and learning.
As a first step councils are asked to commit to the Charter – to make a commitment to develop the necessary strategy and processes to support effective councillor development. Once achieved the Charter is held for three years during which time the council can use the charter logo. At the end of this period there is a reassessment to ensure the council is still at least meeting the Charter requirements. At this point, if the council decides it has made sufficient progress, it could opt to be assessed for the Charter Plus.
There are three essential criteria to achieving the Charter:
- There is a clear commitment to councillor development and support
- The council has a strategic approach to councillor development
- Learning and development is effective in building councillors’ skills and knowledge.
Within each of these there are a number of elements and requirements to demonstrate that the criteria are being met. These do not dictate what should be in your strategy, the nature of the content or the delivery mechanisms that should be used. The emphasis is on ensuring that all councillors are appropriately developed and supported so that they can be effective in their roles.