Politics is the lifeblood of local government. At their best, politicians know and understand their communities intimately, create aspirations out of local desires, draw compelling pictures of the future and bring people together to achieve great things. But, inspiring local communities and creating a better future for the people and places we represent takes ambitious leadership. Next Generation is the Independent Group flagship programme for talented and ambitious councillors who have demonstrated potential and would like to build on their skills to progress in a political career. Offered on an annual basis, the programme has been developed within the traditions and values of the Independent Group, drawing on a range of experts to create an unparalleled political development opportunity for participants.
The programme is designed to support and encourage councillors to:
- Be bold and confident political leaders while representing, understanding and working with their communities
- progress in their political careers
- be champions of local government within their wider political career.
Details of this year's Next Generation Programme can be found in our Group brochure or via the Independent Group Office.
What we offer
Three residential training modules over the course of two days each at University of Warwick. The modules focus on:
- raise awareness of the different styles and approaches to political leadership
- helping participants understand their distinctive approach to policy and governance as Independents or representing their Party
- enabling participants to define their ‘vision' for their council/ward/group
- increasing confidence and awareness of the importance of communication and media skills
- helping participants know more about their own personal strengths and weaknesses as a community and political leader
- developing participants understanding of the practical strategies to policy making and best practice in local groups and councils.
Every participant is also offered the opportunity to take a Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) self-report test and a 360° appraisal with one-to-one political mentoring.
How to apply
As part of the application, we ask applicants to explain why they would like this development opportunity. We also ask for one reference from a political colleague or councillor and for applicants to commit to attend all three modules and undertake all programme work.
Next Generation residential training is available free of charge thanks to funding from the LGA Leadership and Localism Programme. Councillors are asked to cover their travelling costs.
We offer a limited number of places per year and application is by way of a competitive process. The deadline for submission of applications for the 2017/18 programme is the 4th August 2017. To apply please complete the application form.
What our previous cohorts say about the programme
"Attending the Next Generation Programme was a challenging and rewarding experience. Researching for the Group Work Case Study opened up extremely useful communication channels within my local authority, and I learned an enormous amount through taking part in the exercise. Working with fellow Councillors in a supportive atmosphere enabled me to explore different ways of working, and develop new skills. I would wholeheartedly recommend taking part in this programme."
Cllr Laura Conwy, Independent Councillor in North Kesteven (cohort 2014-15)
"The opportunity of attending the Next Generation Programme at Warwick University has been extremely beneficial to help increase my confidence and develop communication and media skills, and I would highly recommend the programme to members looking to develop their future leadership ambitions."
Cllr Goronwy Edwards, Independent Councillor in Conwy (cohort 2014-15)
"The LGA Next Generation Programme has to be one of the best courses any aspiring leader can go on. Personally I learnt to become a better public speaker and to have a better understanding of the different personalities of opposing councillors, colleagues and officers and how that effects decisions they make."
Cllr Mark Stephenson, UKIP Councillor in Tendring (cohort 2015-16)
"This is a great programme, and I was delighted to gain a place. The wide-ranging programme covers most angles from personal goals to strategic development. The timely and practical public speaking module was of immediate benefit, aiding my major speech at Full Council for our chosen motion.
Cllr Martin Fodor, Green Councillor in Bristol (cohort 2015-16)
"This is a really effective programme. Many of the speakers were leaders in their fields who were able to give useful insights into detail that I would otherwise not have access to. One of the things we were asked to do was to list our short and long term objectives. Following the programme my short term objectives have been met and I am getting close to one of the long term objectives and its only six months since the programme!"
Cllr Richard Everett, UKIP Councillor in Tending (cohort 2015-16)
"This programme provided an excellent introduction for a new Councillor such as myself into the opportunities as well as pitfalls for those elected to local government. I met a wide range of fellow Independent Councillors and realised that the problems with which we in Epsom & Ewell have to deal are not unique but common across the country."
Cllr Richard Baker, Residents Association Councillor in Epsom & Ewell (cohort 2015-16).
"I am certain that each and everyone of those attending the programme will be a better councillor for having completed the training. The excellent learning tools we acquired will help us thrive in the role of councillor."
Cllr Stephen Hunt, Independent Councillor, Neath Port Talbot (cohort 2016/17)
Interim head of Group Office
Telephone: 020 7664 3206
Mobile: 07780 226 852