I’m wondering whether some of the principles of the unconference movement might be applied here (I’m not claiming to be any kind of expert, after all, I’ve only been to two).
If there are two things I've learnt about councillor training and development tho' (Ok, I’m no expert here either but I’ve seen my fair share) it’s that:
A) Councillors generally don’t like to be talked at lecture style
B) Councillors learn best from other councillors or at least from those who have been a councillor
|Agenda setting at #localgovcamp 2014|
A councillor untraining session might look like this:
Time and Space: I don’t expect that this will be as long or as big as an unconference (although why not!). It could be two hours with three thirty minute sessions split between two streams in two different rooms. So yes, some time and some space. That's all you need.
Participants: A mix of people – mainly councillors of course but others who can contribute ideas. Support officers, councillors from other councils – anyone who can bring something. Main thing is that it is entirely voluntary – people are there because they want to be. Be creative.
Pitching topics: As in an unconference the first stage is for session ideas to be pitched so an agenda can be developed. This needs someone to facilitate.
Sessions: People join (and leave) sessions as they like. Whoever pitched should lead but beyond this it’s an entirely open format (although questions seem to work pretty well).
Social media: Always good for sharing between streams and getting people involved from outside. Also a good way to share....
Outcomes: There is no formal requirement. Hopefully people will want to share reflections or learning points but that is entirely up to them. I don’t think you need to fill out a form to prove you have learnt something.
So, councillor training and development people and unconference people - are you ready to cross your streams?
Update: Good point by @sarahlay is that @futuregov ran something along these lines called Councillor Camp. Here's a nice set of reflections on that from Barry Kirby.