One of the areas I am now responsible for in my portfolio at the City Council is training and support for elected councillors. So I went to a training session with two hats on last night. The session, for newly elected councillors (and I am sort of that) was on equal opportunities. I wanted to benefit from the training as an individual, but also see at first hand the sort of training we were offering.
The good news was that this was a really good, thought provoking session. The bad news was that, out of the new councillors, there were only four of us there (myself and Gary Millar from the Lib Dems and Richard McLinden and Brian Dowling for Labour). (To be fair I ought to say that the new Green Councillor did try to attend but there were timing issues). It is bad news for those who weren't able to be there as it was a surprisingly good session and not the usual trot through the legislation. Hopefully we can find a way of offering this again.
But it raises a question of timing. I suspect that when you are very new you are trying to sort out all sorts of balancing acts to do with the rest of your life - so perhaps training for new people needs to be not quite so soon after the election (apart from the really basic need to know stuff). There is also the question of how much training people actually need or want. I love training as you always pick up something new but others may see this as a chore and we need to explore whether that is the case.
Anyway Josie Mullen (assistant exec member)and I will be looking at this as one of our priority areas this year.