The council has a statutory duty under section 67 of the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 to make a plan setting out what it proposes to do to address the training needs of its councillors and staff.
The purpose of the training plan is designed to ensure that collectively, councillors and staff, possess the knowledge and awareness needed for the council to operate effectively. It is not necessary for all councillors and staff to have received the same training and develop the same expertise.
A new training plan must be put in place after each ordinary election of community councillors to reflect the training needs resulting from changes to the council membership and to provide for the election of new councillors. This is the council’s first training plan but hereinafter it will review the plan from time to time to keep it up to date and relevant.
In regard to council staff, annual performance appraisals identify individual training opportunities on an on-going basis, whereas in determining councillors’ immediate training priorities an initial training assessment has been made of the essential skills needed and whether the council feels there is sufficient coverage and depth across the council for it to operate effectively going forward from May 2022. The council has a dedicated team of experienced and qualified staff. Consequently the council is confident staff knowledge and expertise will help guide and support new members during the first 6 to 12 months of their term of office. However, a further assessment of councillor training needs will be conducted later in the financial year, when new councillors have had more time to settle-in and have become fully accustomed with their roles and responsibilities. Notwithstanding this, there are core areas to address to ensure the council has sufficient skills and understanding. These are:
- Basic induction for councillors;
- The Code of Conduct for members of local authorities in Wales;
- Financial management and governance.
In addition to these areas, the council will want to consider if there are new challenges and opportunities it may wish to explore for example, such as those offered by the General Power of Competence. In which case it may decide there are new skills for councillors and staff to attain going forward from the publication of this inaugural training plan.
The council has approved the publication of this training plan having identified its initial requirements to take the council forward following the local government ordinary elections on 5 May 2022. The plan is a snapshot of the training requirements at this point in time and will be revisited and updated periodically over the next five years and leading up to the next set of local government ordinary elections planned for May 2027.
In terms of the council’s initial plans these are set out in the following table:
|New and returning councillors||Basic induction to the council||Informal training delivered by council staff||May 2022||Basic induction comprises a series of governance presentations and site visits to council properties and facilities and will provide an understanding of how the council operates. A member information pack will also be issued to all councillors to support the induction programme.|
|All councillors||Bespoke training session on the Code of Conduct for Members||Formal training presentation
|By no later than September 2022||The initial training will be topped up with annual refresher training opportunities provided by Carmarthenshire County Council.|
|Clerk to the Council||Continuous Professional Development||Attendance at sector specific local council conferences and training seminars throughout the financial year||By 31 March 2023||The Clerk possesses one of the sector specific Clerk’s qualifications in holding the Local Policy Certificate in Higher Education and is also a qualified professional Chartered Secretary
specialising in Local Government.
|Technical and General Operations Manager||Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA)||Formal qualification||By 31 March 2023||The Technical and General Operations Manager deputises for the Clerk to the Council when absent and so requires a general understanding of all aspects of local council administration.|
|Finance Manager||Financial Introduction to Local Council Administration (FiLCA)||Formal qualification||By 31 March 2023||The Finance Manager is the council’s Responsible Financial Officer and the role demands an understanding of local council financial management and governance arrangements.|