Bryony Houlden, Chief Executive, South West Councils
Welcome to the latest edition of SW News.
We are pleased to report a number of successful events have been delivered over the Autumn including the increasingly popular Annual PAs Conference and a Coaching Master Class Day. The SW Coaching and Mentoring Pool is going from strength to strength as a very cost effective way of organisations sharing resources, accessing coaching and of ensuring their coaches continue to develop their skills. Both our annual Conference in July and the November Master Classes helped with this skill development. All the delegates who attended the Master Classes rated the learning as good or excellent (86% excellent). The sessions were very varied including great sessions on Coaching with Humour; Team Coaching and Neuro Linguistic Programming with all the delegates believing it had helped them gain relevant new knowledge. If you would like to find more about our work supporting the development of effective coaching please contact us.
We have just had a very successful Pension Managers Conference and already have booking for 2015.
Also in terms of events coming up we our HR Conference in December but in response to customer feedback we are also planning some new events which we hope will meet changing needs. In the spring we are launching a series of three Leadership Masterclasses which we hope will be of interest to a wide audience and are designed to be short, sharp sessions recognising the difficulty everyone has with finding time for development. The topics include “Preventing Radicalisation”; Courage in Leadership and Building Creative Relationships. We have also developed a Mediation Conference with our partners in the National LGA and the South East Employers to be held in March and in the summer we are planning a day of “taster” sessions aimed at supporting the development of skills for the 21st Century Councillor.
The full meeting of South West Councils took place on 14 November. There were over 50 Leaders, Members and senior officers at the meeting.
Members of the Employers’ Side of the National Joint Council attended the meeting to consult authorities about converting a pay proposal into a formal offer. As a result of the feedback from South West authorities and from the other regions, a formal offer was made and agreement has now been reached with the Trade Union Side which will give certainty on pay for local government employers and employees alike until 31st March 2016. Members very much hope that it will be possible to ensure the pay increases reach pay packets before Christmas although as I am sure you will realise the deadline is very tight
We were also pleased to welcome the new Chair of the LGA, Cllr David Sparks to the meeting. There was a joint session with the LGA on approaches to devolution with contributions from both Cornwall Council and Devon County Council about the work they are doing. Cornwall described how Localism had come to the top of their agenda and Devon describing the essence of community working being different approaches in different localities. During the debate Members shared more information about what is happening on the ground to devolve power to communities but also shared the debates they were having about seeking devolution from central Government. If you have developed proposals in your area that you would be happy to share with others in the South West please let us have an update for this newsletter or out other communications. SW Councils meeting.
We have been reviewing our communications and would particularly welcome feedback on whether you find this ebulletin a useful source of information or whether you would prefer a different type of communication. We will be doing a full customer survey again in early 2015 to ask in more detail about all our work but early feedback on our communications would be helpful.
Nuclear power station to boost local economy
On the 21 October, the Government announced that the proposed nuclear power plant, Hinckley Point C, in West Somerset is to become a reality. There will be two reactors at the site, with the first expected to be operational by 2023.
Both Somerset County Council and West Somerset Council have welcomed the approval of Hinckley Point C. Both councils have highlighted the economic benefit that the station will bring to the area and the region. It is expected that the construction of the plant will create 25,000 jobs and will inject £100m into the local economy, in addition to 900 permanent jobs for its 60 year lifespan.