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

Council leaders to unite in bid for £1.3bn growth deal

18/05/2018Council leaders to unite in bid for £1.3bn growth deal

Leaders of all six councils in the North of Wales have come together to bid for a £1.3bn boost in funding for the region. Anglesey, Gw... more >
Grenfell: review into combustable cladding falls short, LGA warns

17/05/2018Grenfell: review into combustable cladding falls short, LGA warns

The independent review of building regulations, conducted following the Grenfell tragedy, has stopped short of proposing a ban on flammable claddin... more >
Dorset merger to go ahead as government rejects 'absurd' challenge

17/05/2018Dorset merger to go ahead as government rejects 'absurd' challenge

A legal challenge submitted by Christchurch Borough Council against the planned merger of Dorset local authorities has been labelled as “an... more >
149x260 PSE Subscribe button

the raven's daily blog

The complexities of Brexit and the hunt for exceptional data scientists

16/04/2018The complexities of Brexit and the hunt for exceptional data scientists

Christopher Gallagher, public sector – SAS, says it’s imperative that organisations have the most experienced data scientists at hand. The Civil Service is feeling immense Brexit stress. Making the right decisions, analysing the ‘best interests’ of the nation as a whole, as well as discrete segments of the populati... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

interviews

GDPR: The public sector scarecrow

03/04/2018GDPR: The public sector scarecrow

SPONSORED INTERVIEW PSE’s Josh Mines chats to Martin de Martini, CIO of Y Soft, about what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)... more >
Data at the heart of digital transformation

03/04/2018Data at the heart of digital transformation

SPONSORED INTERVIEW Grant Caley, UK & Ireland chief technologist at NetApp, speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the benefits of movin... more >
Keeping London safe

05/03/2018Keeping London safe

Theo Blackwell, London’s first-ever chief digital officer (CDO), speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the role he plays in ensuring the... more >
BIM: Digitising the public sector

19/02/2018BIM: Digitising the public sector

PSE’s Josh Mines talks to Stephen Crompton, CTO at GroupBC, and Stuart Bell, the company’s sales and marketing director, about how Bu... more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

public sector focus

The legacy of Grenfell

30/04/2018The legacy of Grenfell

PSE’s Seamus McDonnell looks at the rea... more >
Inquiry warns of ‘lack of transparency’ around child sexual abuse failures

27/04/2018Inquiry warns of ‘lack of transparency’ around child sexual abuse failures

There has been a “lack of transparency&rd... more >