Focus on Leadership

The Focus on Leadership series provides seminars and events to help councillors in their existing roles and provide a bridge to more senior leadership positions.

Focus on Leadership events include; The Young Councillor's weekender, BAME Councillor's Weekender and Effective Opposition – supporting councillors to build valuable networks with peers from across the country.

Who is the Focus on Leadership series for?
The Focus on Leadership series is open to councillors who are interested in making links with others in a similar position or situation.

These vary depending on the event, please get in touch for more information.

Forthcoming Focus on Leadership events include:

Effective opposition

This programme, aimed at opposition leaders and deputy leaders, is designed to help participants to get a better understanding of how they can enhance the effectiveness of their role in leading an opposition group on their council. It will focus on a range of relevant topics, skills and techniques, including building good working relationships with key officers, engaging with external stakeholders, working with the local media and getting the most out of social media.

The programme will provide a unique, cross-party opportunity for participants to explore the nature of effective opposition and gain some insights into their personal leadership and influencing styles. 

Dates and venue

Programme 8: Thursday 1 November – Friday 2 November 2018
Programme 9: Saturday 19 January – Sunday 20 January 2019
Both taking place at Warwick Conferences, Coventry CV4 7SH

The cost for attending this two-day residential event is only £150, which covers the cost of accommodation, meals, tuition and materials.

Young Councillors' Weekender

This event is a must for young councillors, aged 40 and under, who are interested in building their knowledge, skills and councillor network.

Now in its ninth year, the Weekender is designed to provide learning and development around some of the key issues and challenges for all young councillors, and a unique opportunity to meet and network with colleagues from across the political spectrum.

Over 40 councillors attended last year - an opportunity to meet/socialise and problem-solve with other young councillors

This year’s programme will include plenary sessions lead by experts in the field of leadership and leading member peers covering personal development and some of the key current issues and challenges for all councillors. Some of the workshops choices will be:

  • Is Perception more powerful than reality?
  • Finding your political voice
  • Personal Resilience – Stress & Time Management
  • Communication Skills
  • Operating in party groups
  • Local Government Finance
  • Question Time: ‘Hot Topics’ – a chance for you to pose questions, problems and burning issues and put them to a panel of experienced councillors to hear how they might tackle them and also learn from fellow delegates who might have been in the same situation

Date and venue
Saturday 24 November – Sunday 25 November 2018
Warwick Conference Centre, Coventry

The cost for attending this two-day residential event is only £150, which covers the cost of accommodation, meals, tuition and materials, plus an additional £50 for those of you who wish to join us for dinner and stay overnight at the venue on 17 November.

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Councillors Weekender Event

This event provides a unique learning and networking opportunity for elected members from BAME backgrounds and those who are interested in exploring ideas for enhancing the recruitment and retention of BAME councillors.

The programme will include a variety of leadership, skills and personal development workshops, an opportunity to identify new learning and support needs, and a chance to work with others in finding possible solutions for some of the specific challenges faced by councillors from BAME backgrounds.

Date and venue
Saturday 9 February – Sunday 10 February 2018
Warwick Conference Centre, Coventry

The cost for attending this two-day residential event is only £150, which covers the cost of accommodation, meals, tuition and materials, plus an additional £50 for those of you who wish to join us for dinner and stay overnight at the venue.

Leadership Essentials Planning programmes 2018/19

Leadership Essentials Planning provides an opportunity to learn about leading planning services. It provides a forum where attendees from across the political spectrum can meet and talk about common issues, hear from leading experts and take part in discussions and exercises, to develop understanding and thinking and learn new things.

Fees: Delegate cost will be £250. All meals, accommodation and course materials will be provided as part of the delegate package. If you wish to arrive the night before, there will be an additional cost of £85.

Courses take place at Warwick Conferences, Coventry CV4 7SH

Decision making at planning committee: how to run a good planning committee – for Planning committee chairs and vice-chairs
Thursday 27 – Friday 28 September 2018

A council's planning committee is a very public window into a council's decision making processes. The outcomes from the committee are seen in the developments that are delivered through the decisions made. The aim of the planning committee must be for the public that engage in this complex and often controversial process to be satisfied with and clear about the decision making process, if not always the outcome.

Chairing a committee, and all the preparation and lead-in required for good decision making can be challenging. The course will focus on good quality decision making at planning committee and how a good planning committee is run. Attendees will be able to compare how their committee operates with other authorities and share ideas with other councillors.

Councils and Local Planning Policies
Thursday 8 – Friday 9 November 2018

For planning portfolio holders and cabinet members for planning policy.

The 2018 National Planning Policy Framework sets out a new way of organising and thinking about how councils can think about their Local Plan. There is a new emphasis on policies rather than plans and a continued push for joint approaches to strategic issues. There is also a significant change that requires councils to have reviewed their plans within five years alongside a new standard methodology that for some councils shifts their housing delivery numbers significantly.

Some of the details will be revealed over summer but it seems clear that almost every council will need to change how they approach thinking about and resourcing their plan. Members need to lead this change as well as finding ways to reach consensus locally across local authority boundaries.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), Section 106 and Development Contributions
Thursday 6 – Friday 7 December 2018

For planning portfolio holders and cabinet members with responsibility to setting, collecting and spending developer contributions.

In 2018 the Government is changing the way that councils can apply a levy to developments to raise money to fund infrastructure and community facilities. This course provides the details on how the new system work for members at all levels of experience.

The course will cover the councillor’s role in leading the policy as well as the ways in which decisions and negotiations play out in planning applications. It will be suitable for councils that already charge CIL as well as those councils that are considering whether it is worth bothering with for them. It will also cover Section 106 agreements as well as make some recommendations about governance and oversight to ensure that best use is made of the money collected.

Planning, Housing and Affordable Homes
Thursday 13 – Friday 14 December 2018

For planning portfolio holders and cabinet members for planning policy.

Understanding how planning policies can encourage or inhibit various sorts of housing is not straightforward, and in the new 2018 National Planning Policy Framework the definition of what “affordable” means has changed. It is a great opportunity to make sure that your understanding is up to date and your policies are still a good match for the ambition of your council.

We will hear from developers and landlords with plenty of time for Q&A to help newcomers to this area pick up the brief. We will also spend some time taking the “long view” of how housing markets work and the changing role of councils as providers and builders of homes.

There will also be a section on affordable housing in combined authorities and in the context of mayors.

To find out more, 

For more information contact:
Grace Collins
Telephone: 020 7664 3054