Support for Councillors
Charter for Elected Member Development
Making the most of member development
Any council that is serious about meeting the needs of its community must be committed to developing its councillors. Most authorities have some form of support programme in place. However, the approach and levels of commitment and effectiveness vary.
The Charter provides a robust, structured framework designed to help the authority enhance and hone member development. This is available for councils, police and fire authorities across London, Northern Ireland and the south-east and east regions of England.
Authorities already committed
In the south-east, 18 councils have achieved the Charter status to date.
SEE is also leading the Charter for the councils in London and the east region. In the east region, 18 councils have obtained Charter status as have 3 London boroughs.
How much does it cost?
The investment is £3,000 per authority for SEE members and £3,250 for non-members (plus VAT and expenses). This includes the cost of assessment, as well as ongoing support and contact. Your authority has up to three years, from the time of committing, to be assessed.
Councils who successfully achieve Charter status will be presented with a framed certificate marking their accomplishment. For Charter Plus status, a glass award is presented.
Above, Chair of SEE Cllr Rory Love presents East Hampshire District Council with their Charter certificate
These case studies will demonstrate the benefits of the Charter to the council, councillors and community.
Stages of Charter assessment
There are five key stages in working towards the Charter.
Stage 1: Commitment to the Charter and an action plan
The authority will undertake a self-assessment against the Charter criteria and, based on the self-assessment, will develop an action plan supported and approved by SEE.
Stage 2: Improving the development of councillors
The authority works towards achieving the Charter and meeting the requirements of the action plan.
Stage 3: Assessment
When an authority considers it has everything in place to demonstrate it has achieved the Charter, they will inform SEE who will make a judgement whether the authority is ready for assessment. An on-site assessment will be carried out by a trained team of an officer, a member and Mark Palmer from SEE. A comprehensive report will then be sent to the authority following the assessment visit, outlining good practice, areas for improvement and whether it has achieved Charter status.
Stage 4: Awarding the Charter
When the authority has been assessed and awarded Charter status, a certificate from SEE will be presented.
Stage 5: Reassessment
Once awarded, the Charter has a ‘lifespan’ of three years, after which an authority will be required to submit details of how it has sustained the standard. The authority is then reassessed against the Charter. An informal review after 18 months is also carried out to check progress and identify any needs.
Guidelines and downloads
Charter and Charter Plus for Elected Member Development accreditation guidelines
The items below are key indicators against which the Charter will be assessed:
- 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 councillor capacity
In January 2017 it was announced that the Charter accreditation had been updated by SEE and the LGA, and that these changes would be implemented from April 2017. Any authority that has committed to the Charter since April 2017 must work towards the new framework. However, any authority that committed before April 2017 is still able to work against the old accreditation.