Comment

08.06.16

Developing public leaders of the future

Source: PSE Jun/Jul 16

Sandra Dinneen, chair of the District Councils’ Network (DCN) Chief Executive Group and CEO of South Norfolk District Council, explains how district councils are developing the public sector leaders of the future.

The DCN represents 201 district councils in England at national level – through influencing central government and key stakeholders, as well as through commissioning research, providing support and sharing best practice. 

The DCN is a membership organisation and, as such, our predominant role is ensuring that our members are best placed to shape the national policy agenda, and are equipped to tackle challenges and seize the opportunities of an evolving local government landscape. Part of being ready for this transformation is ensuring that district councils are developing the public sector leaders of the future. 

One way in which the DCN supports its members in this regard is through its annual Staff Development Programme. First launched in 2013 as an idea from one of our councillors, the programme has, to date, supported the development of three cohorts and over 200 district council staff. 

Course conferences 

The programme is run for ambitious officers who are starting out in their local government careers. The four national conferences help equip participants with the knowledge and skills they need in an ever adapting local government sector. The conferences tackle a number of themes over the course of a year, including developing the skills needed for working in a political environment; tools for tackling the financial challenge including budget management skills, commercialisation approaches and early intervention to improve outcomes and save money; and personal development opportunities, for example, on coaching and leadership models. 

Members of the cohort also have a mentor from volunteer district councils. Mentors provide the opportunity for the participants on the programme to reflect on their learning from the national conferences and provide one-to-one support on particular areas of personal development. 

I had the privilege of speaking at a couple of this year’s conferences, and I always find it invigorating to work with people at the start of their local government careers. Given that district councils provide a broad range of services, it’s hardly surprising that participants come from diverse disciplines and backgrounds, and this interplay adds a real spark to proceedings. 

Engaging with DCN 

At the first session back in May 2015, I put out a challenge for people not only to attend the sessions and work with their mentors, but also to engage in some ‘live work’ within the DCN. I know many of the participants found the idea of working directly with chief executives and elected leaders pretty daunting, but those that did step forward did themselves proud.   

At the last conference, we reflected with participants on what they felt had impacted them the most from being part of the Staff Development Programme. They highlighted: 

  • The need to better promote and share the best practice around the positive outcomes we, as district councils, can help to achieve for our residents and businesses
  • Local authorities need to be more proactive at supporting staff at all levels to better understand the bigger picture and the national environment we are working in, in order to shape services accordingly 
  • Understanding politicians and party political dynamics is key. We had some excellent politicians speak to the participants and the political group advisors from the LGA left a lasting impression 

We will be launching the next cohort of the DCN Staff Development Programme over the next couple of months, so watch out for details coming to your district council very soon!

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Neighbourhood planning handbook launched for councillors

22/05/2017Neighbourhood planning handbook launched for councillors

A handbook to help councillors plan their neighbourhoods has been launched by a key local government organisation.   The publication, c... more >
Tory plans to achieve budget surplus by 2025 slammed as ‘disappointing’

22/05/2017Tory plans to achieve budget surplus by 2025 slammed as ‘disappointing’

Conservative targets to achieve a budget surplus for public sector borrowing by 2025 have been described as “disappointing” by a key ... more >
Counties back pledges to scrap ‘arbitrary’ mayors for devo deals

22/05/2017Counties back pledges to scrap ‘arbitrary’ mayors for devo deals

County councils have welcomed the decision taken by the three main political parties to drop plans that would stop areas without a directly elect... more >
149x260 PSE Subscribe button

the raven's daily blog

A watershed moment in British democracy

02/05/2017A watershed moment in British democracy

The upcoming mayoral elections represent a watershed moment in the history of British democracy, reports PSE’s Luana Salles.  On 4 May, voters across six regions will take to the polls to decide who should captain their public services until 2020.  As part of the elections, the DCLG has kick-started the ‘Our May... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

interviews

Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

25/04/2017Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

Ahead of this year’s mayoral elections, Lord Kerslake, the former head of the Civil Service, tells PSE’s David Stevenson why the argu... more >
New social care funding misses the point

13/04/2017New social care funding misses the point

Clive Betts MP, chair of the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee, reflects on the social care funding released in this year’s ... more >
Leading transformational change through procurement

01/03/2017Leading transformational change through procurement

Liz Welton, chair of the Society of Procurement Officers in Local Government (SOPO), tells PSE’s David Stevenson why there are lots of oppo... more >
McMahon: I worry that the public are not part of the devolution conversation

20/12/2016McMahon: I worry that the public are not part of the devolution conversation

Jim McMahon, Labour’s shadow minister for local government and devolution, talks to PSE’s David Stevenson about the need to radically... more >

last word

Collaborative working is the key to the future at home and abroad

Collaborative working is the key to the future at home and abroad

David Hawkins, operations director at the Institute for Collaborative Working (ICW), on why ISO 44001 is a new evolution in collaborative working. The past 12 months have seen seismic change... more > more last word articles >

editor's comment

11/04/2017A watershed moment in British politics

The government has now officially triggered Article 50, formally starting the process of Britain’s exit from the EU. How this will affect local government, the wider public sector and the Civil Service remains to be seen, but the likelihood of it being plain sailing with the enormity of the task ahead seems rather unlikely.  It... read more >

public sector focus

Improving engagement and trust

28/04/2017Improving engagement and trust

Tracie Evans, chief operating officer at Hari... more >
A period of inevitable risk

25/04/2017A period of inevitable risk

Dr Daniel Dresner, information and cyber secu... more >