Devon receives reaccreditation at Charter Plus level for Member Development

Left-right: Cllr Helen Holland, Cllr John Hart, Marion Geare, Karen Strahan and Cllr Barry Parsons.

Posted on: 19 July 2016

Devon County Council has been presented with a certificate at the South West Councils AGM for successfully gaining Charter Plus status for a second time.

Devon County Council’s Leader, John Hart, who is also Chairman of South West Councils, received the accreditation alongside Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Performance & Engagement, Cllr Barry Parsons; and Marion Geare and Karen Strahan who support Elected Members with identifying and meeting their learning and development needs.

The Charter supports Councils to adopt a structured approach to councillor development and support, and to building elected Member capacity, which is essential for any council dedicated to meeting the needs of its community.

Charter Plus was introduced in 2009 as an optional, further level that builds on the main Charter requirements. It is intended for councils that have already been awarded the Charter and want an additional challenge to further improve their Councillor development and support arrangements.

Devon County Council has been accredited at this higher level since 2012 and are joined by Exeter City Council, Torbay Council and East Devon District Council who have reached the Charter Plus standard too.

Some key aspects of the report were:

  • The Assessors were particularly impressed by the progress in making Scrutiny a positive and constructive process which was helping the Cabinet and Council to develop more effective policy making.
  • Members were stepping up to the role of Community Leaders and were being supported to do so.
  • The Assessment team were impressed by the strong evidence that Member Development has become part of the fabric of the way the Council works.
  • The Panel found evidence of the Council taking diversity into account. A particularly strong example was the Corporate Parenting Forum, the timing of which had been changed to increase attendance.

Marion Geare, Senior Workforce Development Advisor said: “Member Development is successful because we all work together to achieve a common goal, we value the learning culture and support it to develop and grow and this certainly came across to the assessors. Whether you are part of the Senior Leadership team, a member of the Member Development Steering Group, delivering a learning activity or  a delegate, everyone has helped to provide the evidence upon which we have achieved reaccreditation, so I thank you all for your ongoing support.

“During our assessment the panel felt that we had really built upon our engagement with the community, building better relationships with town and parish councils and engaging even more with partnership working”.

The award was presented by Cllr Helen Holland from Bristol City Council, and also lead assessor for South West Councils.

Find out more about the Charter on the South West Councils website.

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