Agenda and minutes

Contact: Victoria Church 01392 383691  Email:

No. Item



To agree the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 12 September 2017 as a correct record.


It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 12 September 2017 be signed as a correct record. 


Items Requiring Urgent Attention

Items which in the opinion of the Chairman should be considered at the meeting as  matters of urgency.


There were no items requiring urgent attention.


Personal Development Plans

Member Development Officer to feedback on the key areas of learning identified through the recent Personal Development Plans and outline actions in respect to future opportunities.


The Member Development Officer reported that fourteen Members had undertaken one to one Personal Development Plan meetings, nine of which were Members newly elected in May 2017.


A number of development areas were identified through these meetings including:

-       Leadership skills

-       Time management

-       Speed reading

-       Communication skills

-       Data protection

-       Budget and finance

-       Waste and quarrying (specific to Development Management Committee Members)

-       Working in a commissioning environment

-       IT skills


These development areas were in the main being addressed through the Member Induction programme, specific Committee training, Scrutiny Masterclasses and via the Shared Service.


Members of the Steering Group commented on the value of the one to one sessions and support provided, particularly for new Members, meanwhile noting that take up of these sessions was relatively low.  The Member Development Officer undertook to investigate further the reasons for low take up and offer up some additional dates for one to ones in the Spring.





Learning and Development pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Member Development Officer and Head of Scrutiny to outline learning and development sessions undertaken to date and planned Member training, including:


·         Meeting procedures (County Council day)

·         Looking after yourself and your community – Feedback from the session and next steps

·         Scrutiny Masterclasses – including Budget training for Members

·         Agriculture & the Devon Economy


Future Learning

·         Time Management

·         IT Skills – Feedback from survey and plan to deliver training


Full schedule attached.


The Head of Scrutiny presented the new schedule of Member Development which collated all recent Member training including Scrutiny Masterclasses, briefings before full Council and Shared Service events, alongside planned and upcoming training and development sessions.


Members welcomed the new schedule, which was intended to give Members and Officers a clearer understanding of all Member development and training activity across the Council.


The Steering Group also discussed:


·         The challenge for Members new to the Council in managing their time and developing a baseline understanding of all the Council’s responsibilities and services, and that understandably many new Members chose to focus on the areas most relevant to the Committees on which they serve;

·         The support and focus provided through Personal Development Plan one to one meetings which could help Members manage their workload;

·         The value of signposting and advice from the Democratic Services and Scrutiny team on Council services and procedures and of Locality Leads on local issues;

·         The need to ensure that training events are better attended, by considering issues such as scheduling, and the potential for live streaming of sessions and/or webinars;

·         The need to ensure that financial and budget scrutiny sessions are meeting the needs of Members new to local government finance as well as more experienced Members.


The Member Development Officer reported that a training session on Time Management was being held 26th January and that a Member IT skills survey had been undertaken to inform future learning for Members in this area.


The Member Development Officer also reported on training available through the Local Government Association (LGA) including their Leadership Academy and children’s and adult’s social care.


Members discussed:

·         The importance of taking up free training and development opportunities with LGA, while noting there will be associated travel accommodation costs for most attendances;

·         The value of undertaking training outside of ‘County Hall’ and the networking and shared learning this brings, while noting the potential of the Shared Service to offer many of these benefits;

·         The benefit to the Council of Members undertaking leadership and high level courses where appropriate, acknowledging limited training budgets and the difficulties around measuring this added value;

·         The potential of taking a more systematic approach to Member training through group nominations and decision making through the Member Development Steering Group for training requests.


It was RESOLVED that the Chair and the Member Development Officer investigate further the potential for taking the points raised by the Steering Group in this area forward.


Briefings Prior to Full Council

Head of Scrutiny to outline planned briefings:


·         NPS property services (February County Council day)

·         Domestic & Sexual Violence & Abuse Strategy (May County Council day)




The Head of Scrutiny reported that at the last Council meeting, a briefing had been received on Council and Committee Governance and Procedures.  Future briefings were to be held on NPS property services (February County Council day) and on the Council’s Domestic & Sexual Violence & Abuse Strategy (May County Council day).


Corporate Parenting remained a regular feature of the Council Day procedures and took place at 10.00am in the DAW room for up to one and a half hours.


Shared Service Update

Member Development Officer to update:


·         New partner

·         Developing your leadership potential

·         Closer Working with SW Councils


The Member Development Officer provided an update of the Shared Service advising that Mid Devon District Council had recently joined the partnership.  The service was also exploring the potential to deliver leadership training for Members, in partnership with South West Councils, which would reduce costs and widen networking opportunities. 


The Shared Service would also be hosting a ‘21st Century Councillor’ event on 20th July 2018, at County Hall, Exeter.  The Shared Service would have a number of free places available for Members and further information about this event would be circulated in due course.




















Dates of Future Meetings

As shown in the calendar of meetings at


Next meeting to be held on 10 May 2018 at 10.30am.




Members noted the dates of future meetings, as shown in the calendar of meetings at


10 May 2018

27 September 2018

5 February 2019

30 May 2019


all beginning at 10.30am.