There is a new call for councillors to be drawn from a broader spectrum of talent, with school governors, trade unionists and heads of residents’ associations and voluntary organisations all being cited as people who could serve their communities as councillors. The call comes from the public policy think-tank, the Public Management and Policy Association.
In a response to the Government’s Councillors Commission investigation, it said expanding the recruiting ground for potential councillors would have benefits for public services as a whole with governance skills and experience being transferable to other public sector organizations. Standards would be pushed up across the board, PMPA claimed.
Janet Grauberg, PMPA’s development director, said, “Widening the councillor gene pool would make it easier to develop the concept of a ‘community leadership’ career, of which being elected to the council was one part. This would encourage those who have these skills to continue to use them in governing public services even if they no longer are able to continue as a councillor.”
The Association also wants to see more investment in leadership development for elected members arguing that they require specific governance skills that are distinct from the business or management models that most training packages are currently based on. PMPA is also repeating earlier calls for political parties to encourage governance training for local and national politicians.
“Political parties should accept a responsibility for supporting and training their members in relation to governance roles. If our political leaders are provided with better training and support in their decision-making positions citizens will certainly receive better public services,” Janet Grauberg added.