Corscombe, Halstock and District Parish Council

Training and Development policy


As the first tier of local government, parish councils are uniquely placed to make a major contribution to localism.  If a Parish Councils is to play a significant part in democracy, it is necessary that councillors understand their role and responsibilities.  Training is an essential tool to ensure this. Training is also essential for clerks as it ensures they are able to accurately advise the council regarding its statutory duties and powers as well as correctly administer financial matters etc.

This training policy outlines what councillors/Clerk can expect in terms of support and training to ensure they meet their personal development needs,  needs of the council, and meet parishioners’ expectations.

Local councils are responsible for their own performance and improvement as corporate bodies and for the development of their councillors and staff. They are best placed to understand the needs of the community and put in place appropriate training.  Ultimately the council is accountable to the local community.

Corscombe , Halstock and District Parish Council is committed to ensuring our councillors and staff (Clerk) are provided with the means to develop and enhance their skills and abilities to deliver high quality services and kept up to date with all new legislation. To support this, funds are allocated to a training budget each year to enable staff and councillors to attend relevant training.  Training is important as it assists our councillors and Clerk to meet the expectations of our parishioners and confidently fulfil its duties and responsibilities to residents professionally.  The Parish Council believes Councillors and the Clerk have a right to equality of opportunity in all aspects of their development.

Training and development

Corscombe, Halstock and District Parish Council consists of twelve elected or co-opted Councillors and employs one part time Clerk.  Prospective councillors and applicants for the post of Clerk will be made aware of the content of this policy and the expectations placed upon them contained within it.

The council’s aim is to;

  1. support and encourage the training and development of knowledge of councillors and Clerk to help achieve the objectives of the council;
  2. regularly review the needs of councillors and employees;
  3. plan training and development opportunities and budget accordingly;
  4. the Council expects the Clerk to undertake a programme of continuing professional

Providing training yields a number of benefits:

  • Improves the quality of the services and facilities that the
  • Parish Council provides;
  • Enables the parish council to achieve its aims and
  • objectives;
  • Improves the skills base of the councillors and Clerk
  • Demonstrates that councillors and the Clerk are valued.


For New Councillors:

  • New Councillors, whether elected or co-opted are to be provided with a “New Councillor’s Pack” when joining the Council which will consist of the Good Councillors Guide, Standing Orders  and Financial Regulations as well as the Code of Conduct. Together with any other information deemed relevant.

This signposts the councillor to the relevant duties, statutory requirements, and policies and are made aware of the values and vision of the council and the integral role councillors play in achieving these.

  • New Councillors are encouraged to attend courses for “new councillors” arranged by DAPTC.
  • Councillors with primary responsibility for specific areas of work will receive relevant training within six months of the date on which they take on the specific role. For instance, those responsible for finance will receive basic finance training, those responsible for planning will receive basic planning training.
  • The Chair of the Council (and of any sub-committee) shall receive Chairmanship skills training as soon as possible but within six months of the date on which they are elected as Chair. This will allow chairs to explore the unique statutory function and procedural role of the Chairman.

For New Clerks

  • Induction sessions explaining the role of Clerk, such as attendance at a ‘New Clerks’ training course arranged by DAPTC, or similar – within three months of the date on which they are employed.
  • Provision of a Councillor Information pack which contains copies of the Good Councillors Guide, Standing Orders  and Financial Regulations as well as the Code of Conduct. Together with any other information deemed relevant such as I.T., Legal Powers, Finance and understanding the planning system, identified through yearly training needs and assessments or when identified by the Clerk as required.
  • Gaining the Certificate of Local Council Administration (CiLCA) within forty-eight months of appointment. This is a condition of employment.

The requirement that the Clerk should obtain a CILCA qualification is important to the council as it is one of the two requirements for the council to declare it has a General Power of Competence.  This allows the council greater confidence in its legal capacity to act for their communities as outlined in the Localism Act 2011, sections 1 to 8[I]  As such they will have greater freedom in how they meet the needs of the community.

The Clerk is also the RFO,  financial training is important to ensure the councils financial business is correctly administered in line with the Parish Councils’ Financial Regulations and Standing Orders


For Councillors continuing training needs:

  • General training in Parish Council matters including Duties of a Councillor; Code of Conduct; Roles & Responsibilities.
  • Specialist/appropriate training according to need and role in the council and committees including Chairmanship; Planning; Finance.
  • Existing Councillors encouraged to attend refresher training courses.


For Clerk/RFO

  • Clear and measurable objectives for their performance at work
  • Annual appraisals of their performance, role and training needs
  • A personal development plan which addresses their development needs
  • The clerk will be encouraged to attend refresher training courses as needed



The Parish Council recognises that volunteers contribute to the local community and the work of the Parish Council by undertake work in areas, such as litter picking and playground maintenance.  As such the Parish Council recognises the need for appropriate training of volunteers where required to ensure that they are aware of the requirements of the work  as well as training in the use of any equipment being used.  It is the role of the lead project councillor to ensure that volunteers are correctly trained, safety issues clearly outlined, and a risk assessment completed. All volunteers should be treated in line with the councils’ equal opportunities policy.

The risk assessment should outline any training needs and the project lead with the support of the Clerk should ensure that any training required is completed before work is undertaken.



Annually, an allocation will be made in the budget as required to enable reasonable training and development.  As part of this allocation the Parish Council will consider as part of the training budget the allocation of money to pay for subscriptions such as DAPTC and the purchases of other relevant resources such as publications.

While training can be identified and scheduled for the year and can be, to some extent, budgeted for it is recognised that there are situations that arise that will prompt unidentified training needs.  These needs should be met, and the budget set will reflect this. Such situations where an additional call on the training budget may be required are;

  • training for newly elected or co-opted councillors following the death or resignation of a councillor
  • training for chairman following the death or resignation of the chairman
  • training of a new Clerk following the death or resignation of the Clerk
  • training as a result of changes in legislation,
  • training identified in the Clerks annual appraisal,
  • training needs identified as a result of a failure in managing an identified risk in the Parish Councils risk assessment.


Resourcing  and Training:

Training ensures the council meets its own standards and those set out in legislation and related policies.

Training needs should be identified by considering the overall objectives of the council, as well as individual requirements for personal development.

  • Dorset Association of Parish and Town Councils (DAPTC)
  • National Association of Local Councils (NALC)
  • Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC

The Clerk is responsible for arranging all training as directed by the councillors and approved by the council. A record of training undertaken by the Clerk and Councillors will be kept by the Clerk. The Clerk is expected to keep up to date with developments in the sector and highlight to the Council any training required.

The Council will meet the costs of all pre-approved training undertaken or meetings attended, including mileage and parking costs involved.

The council will endeavour to support the Clerk’s professional development, which might include:

  • financial assistance towards the cost of tuition, examinations and resource materials;
  • allocated study leave;
  • time off for any relevant learning courses or examinations.

Such support is entirely at the discretion of the council or, as appropriate, staffing committee.

Annually the Council will consider an allocation in the budget for the payment of a subscription to the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC) and Dorset Association of Parish and Town Councils (DAPTC) to enable the Clerk and Councillors are able to take advantage of their training courses and conferences as well as news updates.   Purchase of relevant resources such as publications will be considered on an ongoing basis.


All training undertaken will be subsequently evaluated by the Council to gauge its relevance, content, and appropriateness. Training will be reviewed in the light of changes to legislation or any applicable regulations relevant to the Parish Council. This will include requirements for new qualifications; new equipment; complaints received and  incidents which highlight training needs. Training and feedback will be noted in the minutes to ensure transparency.

Evaluation and review of training and related matters such as attendance at conferences are necessary to ensure the council continues to demonstrate value for money to its community as well as competence.  It helps to reinforce the objectives of the council by ensuring councillors are fully aware of issues related to the delivery of its objectives.    Councillors and the Clerk should be asked to provide feedback on the value and effectiveness of the training they undertake.  They should highlight in particular the key implications of new legislation, guidance and/or best practice for the ongoing effectiveness of the Parish Council.




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