LICHFIELD District Council’s full Council meeting on Monday (24 February) will consider the Employment Committee’s report and recommendations on the needs of a large number of councillors.
The serious issues raised have come to the attention of Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
The report highlights a number of areas where councillors have asked for additional training and development. Four members of the council have been identified as requiring reading lessons.
“Members have many documents to read,” the report said. “An education would teach them new strategies and techniques to enable them to read and write.”
The Council has said that external support will be needed to provide the reading classes and local school, Queen’s Croft High School, has been identified as having the specialist teachers and strategies best placed to meet this unexpected challenge.
A council officer who did not wish to be identified said:
‘The reading and writing support will need to come from the £5,000 set aside for training elected members,’ said council officer Steve Flemming.
‘Unfortunately that sum is for the whole sorry group, not per councillor.’
Other areas of development required by councillors include:
- How to use my computer as more than just a desk lamp (nine councillors)
- Basic maths in the context of controlling multi-million pound council budgets (all councillors)
- How to dial 999 and when 101 is more appropriate (five interested councillors)
- Acting lessons – ‘How to be a Chair’ (seven interested councillors)
- How to Understand Basic Issues Beyond My Comprehension (all Overview and Scrutiny councillors)
The report also reveals that three councillors have requested speech therapy, with two looking for support to make the transition from “neighbourhood busybody” to “effective ward member.” One member is seeking a session on “how to tell the time”.
The Employment Committee received a report on the results of the Elected Members’ Learning and Development Needs Analysis (LDNA) which was carried out in December 2013. Only 61.1% of councillors managed to return the questionnaire, of which 10 forms had been completed in wax crayon.
Council Leader Mike Wilcox said:
‘To me, to you…
‘This is a matter for the Council to decide but personally the situation is perfectly aligned with my F4F (‘Fucked for the Future’) strategy.’
Eric Pickles MP, fresh from his successful intervention into the Environment Agency’s handling of the recent floods is licking his fat lips in anticipation of the Council’s response. Mr Pickles, equipped with some sort of certificate from Leeds Metropolitan University (aka Leeds Poly), has indicated that low grade councillors could result in the Council being placed in ‘special needs.’
Any parent of pupils at Queen’s Croft who have concerns about councillors being taught in close proximity to their children should contact the Headteacher.
Anyone who may have been affected by this report can read the full details here