A first for my blog in the shape of a guest post, an article from our Learning and Skills Manager, Neil Evans on a recent pilot leadership academy:
In partnership with the Improvement and Development Agency for local government (IDeA), NALC ran its first leadership pilot programme in November 2008 at Warwick University’s prestigious business school.
For the past nine years the IDeA have run their ‘mainstream’ leadership programme for principal local authority councillors and leaders over six days.
To test out how such a programme might be received among local (parish and town) councillors a pilot programme was developed in partnership with the IDeA. This residential event, run over two days, offered an insight into personal and community leadership styles on the first day, including a Myers Briggs Type Indicator profile of each delegate being explored.
The second day saw case studies presented and real life applications of the leadership styles and the impact on the community explored. It was hoped this would offer participants the opportunity to see how these concepts were being applied in real life. The event also gave them the chance to map the issues and challenges that their councils and communities faced and also apply the leadership theories to this. All of these sessions created much interest and opportunity to network, exchange ideas and discuss solutions to problems faced.
The event was aimed at chairmen and mayors, or local councillors who were aspiring to a leadership position in the future. Fourteen delegates attended from a broad range of local councils in terms of location and size. This offered the evaluation of the event a good opportunity to see how these concepts could be applied to a range of local councils and councillors in different areas.
Overall the event was a resounding success, with one delegate commenting that the most useful elements were the “Interaction with other delegates and useful leadership tools for the future. Hope there’s a future session to build on this experience!”. Other positive observations offered the “Need to build on the initial programme which has been first class! It is essential that leaders at the first tier are trained sufficiently to meet the challenges ahead.” With regards ongoing Continuous Professional Development and the positive impact this type of programme can have one delegate finished their feedback form with “Thank you. A rare opportunity to exchange ideas, pick brains and measure myself and my council against others. A great help in my personal development.”
A follow-up day for the ‘graduates’ of the pilot programme is being held in the next few weeks. In terms of longer term sustainability, we are liaising with the IDeA to explore ways of delivering these events throughout the year. Currently over 180 principal authority councillors a year go through the IDeA’s mainstream programme. With over 80,000 local councillors in England, there is no time to waste knowing the positive impact this programme could make to the leadership potential of local councillors and their councils.