Support for Councillors and Democratic ServicesDemocratic Services

Working in partnership with ADSO, SEE provides support to democratic and scrutiny officers. We offer two comprehensive annual development programmes for democratic services officers and managers, as well as a range of other training and coaching options.

If you don’t see what you’re looking for, or require more information, please contact Mark Palmer to discuss how we can support your authority.

Introduction to Committee Administration programme

This four-day programme, held annually in February/March, is aimed at recently appointed and developing professionals in Committee Administration.

This is an ideal programme to get you started and help you develop in the role of Committee Administrator. Aimed at inexperienced or newly-appointed Committee Administrators, the next programme will be run in early 2020.

This course was extremely useful, thorough and the teachers were excellent. The course went at a steady pace and I would recommend it to all who are new to the profession. It is also a great way to network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Heather Scowby, London Borough of Islington

One of the best courses I’ve attended – well planned, well structured, lots of different styles/learning. Having several trainers made it more lively and interesting, bringing different experience and a large knowledge base

Angela Guest, London Borough of Sutton

A good stepping stone at the start of a career in Democratic Services.

Victoria Foreman, Mole Valley District Council

Thoroughly enjoyed the four days. Felt content was just right and well planned. The fact that it was in two sessions of two days gave time to digest information and ask practical questions.

Carolyn Turner, Rother District Council


John Austin, Chair of ADSO

Peter Edwards, former Head of Democratic Services, Surrey County Council

Mark Palmer, SEE

Advanced Committee Administration programme

Group of people who have completed the course holding their certificate The Advanced Committee Administration programme is aimed at experienced practitioners and managers. It’s a two-day programme usually held in November. This two-day programme has everything you need to help you develop in the role of Committee Administrator. We aim to provide you with the skills and knowledge to carry out your role effectively. This is an excellent opportunity to share good practice with each other and learn from experienced practitioners. The programme is ideal for those working in Committee Administration, including Member Services and Democratic Services Officers in local authorities. The programme is designed for those with 18 months to five years experience in the role.

Excellent course. Good value for money and enjoyable.

Ellen Johns, Medway Council

Excellent course, lots of information to take back and share with colleagues.

Laurence Deig, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

Facilitators John Austin, Chair of ADSO Peter Edwards, former Head of Democratic Services, Surrey County Council Mark Palmer, Development Director, SEE

Cost £399 + VAT per delegate for SEE and ADSO members, £450 + VAT for non-members  

Leading and Chairing Scrutiny for Officers

Overview and scrutiny is a challenging but rewarding role that can have a great impact in your locality. This one-day workshop will provide officers who support and lead scrutiny with the knowledge and skills to maximise the potential of overview and scrutiny. The workshop will consider all aspects of the overview and scrutiny roles to support scrutiny improvement and enhance performance. The objectives of this course are:

  • To provide officers with an oversight of the leadership role of scrutiny
  • To be able to develop and prioritise a high-impact scrutiny work programme
  • To provide the means to support and facilitate an effective relationship between Cabinet and scrutiny
  • To lead and support successful engagement with the public and partners in the work of scrutiny
  • To be able to maximise internal and external influence to support successful outcomes
  • To provide methods to support and structure the committee/panel questioning and engaging witnesses.

Facilitator – Mark Palmer, Development Director, SEE For more information or to schedule a course for your organisation, contact Mark Palmer.

Political Skills for Managers - Developing Political Astuteness
Developing and enhancing awareness of the political environment

The workshop offers an opportunity to explore the nature of current relationships, ways of working and the dynamics of political culture within the council. It assists delegates to develop an understanding of the larger political context in which they work, develop an understanding of political behaviour and the impact on the role of the manager. The workshop allows delegates to develop skills in working with elected members. It also utilises political models to examine issues of political sensitivity, and how to read the political environment in which you work, to support managers to be more politically astute. The workshop will use a range of innovative/creative delivery methods, including presentation, small group discussion, plenary feedback, case study and questionnaire.

  • To develop and enhance managers’ awareness of the political environment and working/engaging within it
  • To further enhance awareness of the different levels of the decision-making process in the context of Executive/overview and scrutiny
  • To enhance the managers’ awareness of political concepts and models of competence and integrity in politically sensitive situations
  • To analyse and develop best practice approaches to member-officer working
  • To develop a managers’ approach to exerting influence using an influencing skills framework
  • To provide delegates with the opportunity to discuss their own experiences in a secure environment, and explore further development options

Facilitator – Mark Palmer, Development Director, SEE For more information or to schedule a workshop for your organisation, contact Mark Palmer.

Team Talk Coaching for Management Teams

Group size:  Typically used for up to 10 participants, it has often been adapted for larger groups. Time required: Recommended total session time is from 3 to 4 hours, which includes time to review, summarise and prioritise the actions identified.

What happens during a Team TalkTM session?

Teams sit down together to identify risks and agree solutions that achieve outcomes. Team TalkTM uses a powerful team coaching approach that makes the most of the experience in the room. It builds confidence in being able to engage with the future and change.  

As a result of Team TalkTM the senior team developed a sense of pride and ownership of our strategic aims.  

Director of GP Education, South West Education and Training Board Unique to Team TalkTM is its built-in adaptability in providing the optimum degree of discussion appropriate to the issues raised, so that the very best use is made of the time invested.

It wasn’t all about process, and we rapidly started generating hard outputs in terms of high-level thinking and operationalisation of our ideas.

Source: as above

How will Team TalkTM help us to address current challenges?

Here are examples of current issues that the process addresses:

  • The shift taking place from delivering services to facilitating outcomes
  • Partnership development
  • Use of technology to achieve further efficiencies
  • Identification of skills that need updating

What about staff resilience and wellbeing? Recognition and encouragement from one’s colleagues is a key factor in staff resilience and wellbeing. For example, challenges in response to cost savings are being raised in public forums with increasing insistence and criticism. Team TalkTM gives opportunity for much needed expressions of support to those facing these and other challenges.

Stimulating and highly engaging – I am confident that (public sector teams) would find the approach useful and enjoyable.

Source: as above

What are the benefits of having an external facilitator for Team TalkTM ?

Our facilitators are fluent in the use of the team coaching tools and are skilled at adapting to the group dynamic unique to each team. With Team TalkTM their neutrality ensures that airtime is shared, and that equal consideration is given to solutions proposed. For further information and to discuss Team Talk in your organisation contact Mark Palmer

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