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WELSH COUNCILS COMMIT TO CONTINUED MEMBER DEVELOPMENT

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Leaders and senior officers across Welsh local government gathered at a conference today to review the Member Devel...
Leaders and senior officers across Welsh local government gathered at a conference today to review the Member Development Strategy for Wales. The strategy sets out how councils can best support their elected members to manage council affairs and secure public confidence in their role.

Welsh Local Government Association leader Alex Aldridge said:

'Local government is a multi-million pound business which is overseen by local councillors as the people's representatives. Councillors carry positions of high responsibility but most often come into office as a lay person with a steep learning curve ahead of them. It is of great importance therefore that they receive the support and development they need to meet the challenges of their roles.'

'The WLGA and its member local authorities are highly supportive of investing in member development and expert support services like any other 'profession'. To this end the member development strategy is essential. It provides invaluable advice and support from executive coaching to training in areas of specialist knowledge to induction for newly elected members. Councils are now investing properly in the development of their elected members with the support of the Welsh Assembly Government. This conference is an important step in taking this strategy forward and sharing our experiences and practices within developing political structures.'

The event explored the changing role of the elected member in Welsh local government with an aim to review and inform the Member Development Strategy for Wales. Local government minister Sue Essex addressed the event promoting the importance of effective local democracy and discussing the challenges that face elected members.

Later this year the WLGA will launch its new Member Charter.

Notes

1. There are 1,250 elected members across the unitary councils in Wales

2. The Wales Charter for Member Support and Development is being created to give structure and impetus to the growing body of support services for elected members within Welsh local government. These services take the form of training and development, support facilities and support services. The charter will provide a broad framework for local planning, self-assessment, action and review. The charter will also encourage networking and comparison amongst authorities and the sharing of good and innovative practice. Its wide adoption and use will raise the overall amount and standard of support given to members in Wales. By having a more informed picture of practice across Wales the national agencies will be better placed to provide support and investment for member services at the national and the local levels.

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