Charter success is good news for Kent

I'm pleased to be part of the new charter awarded to Kent County Council, awarded today.

Kent County Council has been awarded the South East Charter for Elected Member Development.  The charter recognises the authority's efforts to make sure its Members are well-equipped to deliver KCC's priorities and deal with the tough challenges currently facing local government. 

The Charter was officially presented at County Council today (Thursday) by South East Employers Chairman, Councillor Rory Love. Acknowledging the achievement, Kent County Council Deputy Leader, Alex King said:"Our organisation is facing some very big challenges and difficult decisions. 

We have an excellent group of very capable, skilled Members and it is crucial that they are given access to the high standard of development opportunities, support and information they need to drive forward the authority's goals, deliver services and meet the needs of Kent residents in the best possible way." Councillor Love, who is also the Deputy Leader of Shepway District Council, congratulated the authority. 

He said:"This charter is recognition of the investment and value that Kent County Council places in member development.  The authority recognises that development of all members is critical to the successful achievement and delivery of strategic priorities on behalf of the people they represent and serve in the community. 

"The development and support that Kent County Council provides for all members will become even more important to be able to respond to the challenges and opportunities of localism, decentralisation and making the 'Big Society' a reality. "It has therefore never been more important to ensure that all Members are provided with the skills and support to carry out that evolving role and the charter assessment team were impressed with the profile and importance attached to member development across this council." The Charter has been developed by South East Employers and Local Government Improvement and Development (LGID). 

It aims to bring a high standard to the way elected Members are supported to carry out their roles.  It requires that an authority is fully committed to developing its Members, that a learning and development plan is in place for them and that learning and development is effective in building their capacity.  KCC carried out a self-assessment when it initially signed-up for the charter in 2007 and developed an improvement plan from that, which was then put into practice.  A final assessment was carried out by South East Employers, which showed that the required standards had been reached and the charter was awarded on 22 September 2010. Elected Members at

KCC have access to learning, development and information in a variety of ways, so there is flexibility and all Members can participate.  These include a dedicated Member's hand book, webinars, web portals, e-learning, and IT training sessions, as well as a regular update of information in a format that allows Members to quickly access what is relevant to their specific role. A range of training and learning programmes are available including community development and finance, and programmes from other councils.  As part of the charter commitment, interviews are carried out with individual
Members to accurately identify needs and make the whole development programme as productive as possible. The Charter lasts for three years after which the authority will need to show how it has maintained the required standard.
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