Leadership essentials

'Leadership Essentials' is a series of series of programmes and workshops’ designed as themed learning opportunities for councillors. Each event concentrates on a specific portfolio area or a specific theme.

Audit Committees: Leadership Essentials

The world of audit just got interesting! The role of Audit Committees is to ensure that the council has an effective system for managing risks and controlling its finances. In these times of reduced resources and enhanced risk this role is more important than ever. With a government review of local government underway and controversy in the private sector about the role of external auditors, there has never been a better time to reflect on how audit committees need to be fulfilling their role.

Aimed at Audit Committee Chairs, this programme will discuss how Audit Committees can be most effective, drawing on the insights of auditors to ensure that the public can have confidence in the way the council is managing its financial affairs.

Programme 5: Wednesday 19 January – Thursday, 20 January 2022
Programme 6: Saturday 19 February – Sunday 20 February 2022

Both events take place at Warwick Conferences, Coventry CV4 7SH.

Fee: The cost of attending this programme is fully subsidised.

Adult social care: Leadership Essentials

This development event supports Lead Members with the key challenges they face in adult social care in the changing policy landscape. It offers the opportunity to explore leadership capacity, to share learning and to make valuable contacts.  The course is delivered by LGA staff supported by high profile guest speakers from local government and partner agencies.  The event is member led, interactive, and maximises the opportunity for discussion, sharing of practice and innovative solutions in a confidential environment.

We are running the two-day programme for Adult Social Care and Leading Healthier Places simultaneously and as a virtual event. This will be a mix of live webinars, virtual facilitated workshops and networking, one-to-one sessions plus web-based materials, to allow members to build their own programme.

It will focus on leadership in the current challenging policy and practice context, including implementing the Care Act, sector led improvement and integration. The event is supported by the LGA and the Towards Excellence in Adult Social Care programme of sector led improvement in adult social care.

New dates for 2021/22 to be announced

Fee: The cost of attending this programme is fully subsidised.

More information on other resources for lead members can be found on the Adult social care lead member development page.

Being an effective Cabinet Member: Leadership Essentials

This exciting new programme from the LGA has been designed to meet a significant unmet need in the member development world - a course to support new and experienced cabinet members in being successful in their portfolios. There are many courses available for scrutiny councillors, but this is the first course dedicated to supporting councillors in their role as executive members. 

This interactive course examines the key aspects of being a successful cabinet member - from having a clear understanding of the legacy you want to leave, to working with your director, working with other cabinet members, making effective decisions and managing your workload.  The course is designed to produce a step change in the effectiveness of cabinet members.  It is designed to support all different types of portfolio holders - and is not specific to a specific portfolio.

This programme is for new cabinet members; experienced cabinet members wanting a ‘refresh’; cabinet deputies or assistants; shadow cabinet members or assistants.

Programme 9: Thursday 15 July - Friday 16 July 2021 – Virtual             

Programme 10: Thursday 14 October – Friday, 19th October 2021
Warwick Conferences, Coventry CV4 7SH

Fee: The fee for attending the 2-day residential event is £250 per place which includes accommodation, meals and all learning materials.

Communication and Media: Political Leadership Masterclass

As a leading councillor you play a pivotal role in raising awareness of your local area and organisation through the media. We’re running an intense five-hour virtual masterclass to develop and enhance interview skills. The session will be run by Scott Chisholm, who advises some of the country’s top politicians and the world’s most influential corporate executives.

  • You will learn how to be in control of any encounter with any journalist
  • How to prepare and present
  • How a journalist thinks
  • What makes news, news
  • Your rights
  • How to exploit difficult questions
  • How to influence, rather than merely inform
  • The 3 ‘R’s of damage imitation and crisis management

New dates for 2021/22 to be announced soon

Fee: The cost of attending this programme is fully subsidised.

Children's services: Leadership Essentials

Lead Members for Children's Services are responsible for providing leadership to Children's Services in their area and hold a statutory role. This development event is funded as part of the sector led improvement programme and aims to support Lead Members with the key challenges they face in the changing policy landscape and to develop leadership capacity, share learning and provide a valuable networking opportunity. This programme is also for Chairs of Children's Services scrutiny committee.

The programme runs over two days and is delivered by member peers and LGA staff supported by guest speakers from local government and partner agencies. We are offering a choice of three programme dates:

Programme 32: Thursday 23 September – Friday 24 September 2021

                            Warwick Conferences, Coventry CV4 7SH

Programme 33: Thursday 21October – Friday 22October 2021

                           Warwick Conferences, Coventry CV4 7SH

Programme 34: Saturday 20 November – Sunday 21 November 2021 – Virtual

Fee: The cost of attending this programme is fully subsidised.

Climate emergency: Leadership Essentials

The impact of climate change on our planet is dominating global news headlines and a recent survey by Ipsos MORI showed 85 per cent of adults are now concerned about global warming. Many councils have formally declared a climate emergency and are looking at practical steps to turn ambitions on reducing carbon emissions into action.  

This programme will help leaders and portfolio holders explore the crucial local leadership role in responding to the climate emergency. It will explore levers for councils to reduce carbon emissions and provide opportunities to learn from the experience of others.  

Featuring a range of inputs, practical sessions and discussions, the programme will explore themes including community engagement, action planning, current climate change issues and how councils can bring partners together to deliver meaningful changes.

Fee: The cost of attending this programme is fully subsidised.

Programme 6:  New dated for 2021/22 to be announced soon.

Cultural services: Leadership Essentials

Leadership Essentials Culture event for Portfolio Holders

After 12 very successful programmes, we are delighted to be working in partnership with Arts Council England to deliver further Leadership Essentials Cultural Services programmes for leading members with responsibility for Cultural Services.  At this critical time for cultural services, the programme will support leading councillors to develop an integrated cultural offer against a backdrop of reducing budgets.

The programme aims to help participants:

develop a better understanding of the role integrated cultural services can play in communities understand the extent of transformation that is now required in the planning, delivery and development of cultural services. consider how councils can use cultural services to improve outcomes for their communities learn from good practice across the country understand more about how Arts Council England and LGA can support participants to carry out their leadership roles more effectively.

Programme 16: New dates for 2021/22 to be announced soon

Fee: The cost of attending this programme is fully subsidised.  This includes accommodation, meals, course materials and tuition.   Accommodation is available for the pre-night.

Data and digital transformation: Political Leadership Masterclass

This series of events is for elected members who are working on, and keen to maximise, the opportunities of digital approaches and data exploitation in their authorities. A sequence of speakers from local authorities will talk about their own experiences as a reference point for questions and a discussion within the group.

Participants will take part in discussions to address all those subject areas that you do not currently fully understand but are afraid to ask.

The programme includes sessions on the benefits of digital approaches for councils, the importance of attention to, and better use of data, overcoming and understanding cultural issues and how as councillors we can create the conditions and scrutiny in which suitable innovations are able to succeed.

New dates for 2020/21 to be announced soon

Fee: attendance is free but places are limited to 20 in each event. Those interested are encouraged to book their places here.

Effective scrutiny: Leadership Essentials

The Leadership Essentials: Effective Scrutiny 2-day programme is for new or aspiring scrutiny chairs or task-and-finish group review lead members covering: 

  • Leading and managing a scrutiny review
  • Ensuring impact of scrutiny recommendations
  • Increasing participation by members and the public
  • Chairing scrutiny meetings in all their forms

Drawing on experts in their field, the programme will also offer the opportunity to focus in depth on the hot topics that are currently most relevant to your work, whether that is children’s safeguarding, welfare reform, changes in health services or pressure on budgets driving major changes in how services are delivered or commissioned.

Programme 14: Tuesday 21 September – Wednesday 22 September 2021 
                           Warwick Conferences, Coventry CV4 7SH

Programme 15: Saturday 15 January – Sunday 16January 2022
                           Warwick Conferences, Coventry CV4 7SH

Fee: The fee for attending the 2-day residential event is £250 per place which includes accommodation, meals and all learning materials.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: Leadership Essentials

We are now taking bookings for a NEW Leadership Essential on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for councillors which will be running over four modules, across the end of March and early April.

About the Programme:
The aim of the course is to strengthen the skills of councillors to negotiate the area of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI); using their individual knowledge of the places they represent, working with their officers and partners to develop policy and services to make a positive difference, to draw from the longstanding work of the LGA in this area, and to learn from colleagues from elsewhere. This will involve understanding legal responsibilities, how EDI helps shape effective services and builds a council’s reputation – and demonstrates community leadership to make a positive difference.

The programme is for members who have a leading role in this area like cabinet members; committee chairs; equality and diversity chairs / champions.

This interactive programme will consist of a cohort of up to 30 delegates who will be taken on a leadership journey over the course of the following four modules that make up the totality of the programme:

Module 1: Thursday 18 March, 7-8.30pm
Introduction to equality, diversity and inclusion and familiarisation with key concepts

Module 2, Thursday 25 March, 7-8.30pm
A councillor’s improvement role for equality, diversity, and inclusion 

Module 3, Thursday 8 April, 7-8.30pm
A councillor’s leadership role for equality, diversity, and inclusion

Module 4, Thursday 15 April, 7-8-30pm
Being an equality, diversity, and inclusion champion

If you are keen to take part on the programme, but cannot attend one of the dates, do let us know. All four modules will be delivered via Zoom.

Please note:  At the moment we are limiting the spaces to not more than two members from the same authority.

Fee: The cost of attending this programme is fully subsidised  

Finance: Leadership Essentials

This two-day programme will help leaders and finance portfolio holders get to grips with the financial challenges facing their authority. The course discusses setting longer term strategies for sustainability as well as balancing the budget on an annual basis and how to work with officers to ensure that the Council is making the most of its opportunities.

Designed for Leaders and finance portfolio holders, this programme is an opportunity to focus on financial management and governance ahead of the final stages of the 2021/22 budget process, but also to look longer term at what the strategic options may be for the Council and its local area.  Participants will hear from a variety of speakers with experience of financial leadership in difficult times and experts on the financial impact of change. This course is also suitable for the Chairs of Audit Committees and those responsible for finance scrutiny.

Programme 20: Saturday 18 September – Sunday 19 September 2021
Programme 21: Thursday 14 October 2021 – Friday 15 October 2021
Programme 22: Saturday 6 November – Sunday 7 November 2021

All take place at Warwick Conferences, Coventry, CV4 7SH.

Fee: The cost of attending this programme is fully subsidised.

Fire and Rescue: Leadership Essentials

Leadership Essentials: Fire and Rescue

This year we will be running our Fire Leadership Essentials to support Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA) members with their responsibilities. For the first time, the programme will be delivered virtually via Zoom from 17-19 March 2021.

By the end of the course, delegates will have had the opportunity to: 

  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of the fire sector, including clarity on duties and responsibilities
  • Develop skills around leadership in fire and rescue authorities (FRAs).
  • Gain a thorough understanding of scrutiny in FRAs and practical skills to apply that understanding.
  • Improve knowledge of the key strategic issues facing the sector, including building safety, the fire inspections regime and issues around culture, inclusion and diversity in the fire sector.
  • Share ideas and network with leading members from a variety of FRAs.

We encourage all fire members to attend a fire programme as an induction to the fire sector and as an opportunity to network with other fire members.

Programme 15 Part 1: Wednesday, 17 March 2021 (Virtual)

Programme 15 Part 2: Thursday, 18 March 2021 (Virtual)

Programme 15 Part 3: Friday, 19 March 2021 (Virtual)

Fee: The cost of attending this programme is fully subsidised. 

Getting your message across: Leadership Essentials

This event will provide councillors with the new ideas, strategies and techniques for achieving more effective communication with both internal and external audiences. Participants will learn how to:

  • Influence others towards achieving mutually beneficial objectives
  • Adapt their communication style to convey messages more persuasively to people who have a different communication style
  • Be more effective when delivering and managing bad news
  • Develop a more authoritative communication style
  • Build and promote their own personal brand
  • Target the right message at the right audience and establish trust and credibility and build relationships
  • Overcome barriers to effective communication
  • Select the best tools and methods for delivering messages.

Programme 7:  Saturday 15 January – Sunday 16January 2022
Warwick Conferences, Coventry CV4 7SH

Fee: The fee for attending the two-day residential event is £250 per place which includes accommodation, meals and all learning materials.

Housing: Leadership Essentials

This programme is aimed at Leaders, Deputy Leaders and relevant portfolio holders. It will be designed to help participants develop their leading role in shaping the local housing market to meet the needs of people and places. It will include focuses on understanding the housing market, developing and delivering a vision with partners, and delivering ambitions to improve the availability, affordability and suitability of new and existing housing.

Programme 2: Thursday 16 September – Friday 17 September 2021 
Warwick Conferences, Coventry CV4 7SH

Fee: The fee for attending the 2-day residential event is £250 per place which includes accommodation, meals and all learning materials.

Leading Healthier Places: Leadership Essentials

In partnership with NHS Clinical Commissioners, we co-deliver leadership events for political and clinical leaders in care, health and wellbeing. This Leadership Essentials course will support local leaders of place to build on the strength of communities that we have witnessed in the health emergency, and reshape approaches to supporting the vulnerable and tackle health inequalities that COVID-19 has brought to the fore.

These sessions will give members an opportunity to come together to have space to think and reflect, share experiences and actively learn from each other through the LGA’s tried and tested approach to leadership development. The sessions will be co-delivered by local authority and clinical commissioning colleagues.

These leadership development sessions are aimed at HWB Chairs/Vice-Chairs, Council Leaders, CCG Chairs, elected members on HWB boards, Portfolio Holders with responsibilities for Adult Social Care or Public Health and those with a political role in a health and care system or devolution arrangement.

Programme 22: Wednesday 14 July – Thursday 15July 2021
Warwick Conferences, Coventry CV4 7SH

Fee: The cost of attending this programme is fully subsidised.

Planning: Leadership Essentials

Leadership Essentials Planning is a place where councillors can learn about the latest thinking in leadership and the challenges facing local government around planning. 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 challenge and develop thinking.

Decision Making at Planning Committee: How To Run A Good Planning Committee

For Planning committee chairs and vice-chairs.

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.

Programme 6: New dates for 2021/22 to be announced soon

Warwick Conferences, Coventry CV4 7SH

Fee: The cost of the course is £250 per person which includes all meals and an overnight stay. We will also be allowing delegates to attend the event remotely.

A Planning Update

For leading planning councillors.

The planning system is key to how a place develops, changes and delivers the needs to the community. There are a raft of reforms to the present system already announced and proposed in the coming months. This course will increase understanding of the role of planning, the recent changes in the planning system and what the impact might be on yourself, colleagues and your officers. And importantly, what you might need to do back at your authority. 

You will be able to meet and discuss the issues and share ideas with other informed councillors.

A delegate from the last course reflected: "Good to meet one's peers and debate, exchange good practice, learn and return to the office invigorated knowing you will make a difference by impacting on matters".

New dates for 2020/21 to be announced soon.

Risk Management Political Leadership Masterclass

The Members’ role in leading and managing the risks councils take

Sometimes the biggest risk you can take is to take no risks at all! The current climate means that traditional risk-averse councils are taking on more and more risks - in cutting back services,  transforming services, working in partnerships, being 'more commercial' and entrepreneurial. 

But when risk taking goes wrong, the consequences in terms of service delivery and financial security can be disastrous!  And members - leaders, cabinet members - are the ones who bear the brunt of reputational and political damage.

Are you certain that your council has the 'risk equation' right? Are you too risk averse? Or taking too many risks?

How can members be sure of excellent risk leadership and management?  As a leader or deputy - what is your role in governing risk?  As a cabinet member, how do you lead risk in your portfolio? As a chair of audit, have you a good handle on risk and corporate risk registers? As a scrutiny chair, have you reassured yourself that risk is well managed in the authority?

This Masterclass examines risk and risk management tools, reviews changes in risk behaviour in local government and focuses on how members can lead and manage risk effectively.

This one day course is the only Leadership Essentials course which focuses on the key issue of risk. 

It is an essential course for the following in local government:

  • Leaders & deputy leaders / elected mayors
  • Cabinet members
  • Chairs of Audit
  • Chairs of scrutiny
Sport and physical activity

Following over 20 successful Leadership Essentials Sport programmes in the last five years, the LGA and Sport England are pleased to offer further programmes to assist Cabinet members/portfolio holders with the responsibility for sport to lead transformational change in their service. The programme also provides a great opportunity to hear about Sport England’s strategy, Towards an Active Nation, and the opportunities it brings for councils and local partners. It is also a very beneficial experience for new portfolio holders.  

The event will help participants to:

Understand the role that sport and physical activity can play in helping address health improvement and health inequality within communities Explore the role sport and physical activity can play in public health, health and social care commissioning and personalisation Understand and lead the transformation required in the provision, management and development of sport and physical activity services within councils in order to improve efficiency and value for money and increase participation Understand more about how Sport England and the LGA can help and support councils through change programmes and hear about Sport England’s strategy Towards an Active Nation.

New dates for 2021/22 to be announced soon

Fee: The cost of attending this programme is fully subsidised. This includes accommodation, meals, course materials and tuition. Accommodation is available for the pre-night.

Read about the impact attending a Leadership Essential Sports and Physical Activity programme (formerly called Leadership Academy) had on seven councillors from across the country in our brochure.

For more information or to book, contact:
Grace Collins
Telephone: 020 7664 3054
Email: Grace.Collins@local.gov.uk